J Balvin Makes Impassioned Call For Government Action in Colombia: 'We Need to Be Heard'

J Balvin
Orli Arias

J Balvin

J Balvin played a grand hometown concert on Saturday (Nov. 30) at Anastasio Girardot stadium in Medellín, Colombia with a roster of guest artists that included Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, Prince Royce and Willy William -- but what may have been the most notable moment of the night had nothing to do with music.

Balvin took a moment between performances to speak at length about the political and social situation in Colombia, where thousands of people have marched in the past week to demand governmental and social change. The reggaetonero typically doesn’t make political pronouncements, and he acknowledged this at the onset.

“I tried to be prudent and they called me lukewarm,” he began. “Until I arrived in Medellín, I connected with my land, I listened to people in my barrios… I no longer lack anything, but I once did and I understand the situation the youth in this country are gong through. If they're marching, it’s because something is not right… We need to be heard.”

Like other artists who have been more politically outspoken in recent months, Balvin also recognized the growing clout social media has afforded him.

“I never thought that after being an artist I would become the voice of the people," he continued. "And it’s true, that sometimes we have so much power that we are more listened to than any president… [the country] needs support with education, with health. We are tired of violence."

The speech ended with a moment of silence in memory of the three people who have died as a result of the protests.

Watch the full speech below.