J Balvin talks mental health, the border and love at the Don Haskins

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J Balvin talks mental health, the border and love at the Don Haskins

J Balvin, Arcoiris Fall North American Tour at El Paso Concert Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

J Balvin, Arcoiris Fall North American Tour at El Paso Concert Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Anette Baca

J Balvin, Arcoiris Fall North American Tour at El Paso Concert Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Anette Baca

Anette Baca

J Balvin, Arcoiris Fall North American Tour at El Paso Concert Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Anahy Diaz, Contributor

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Colombian reggaeton singer, J Balvin, garnered screams from the crowd with performances of his hit songs and talked about mental health, the border and love Friday, Oct. 11, at the Don Haskins Center.  

El Paso marks the sixteenth city to have experienced the wild splash of color and energy the singer’s North American “Arcoiris Tour” brings.   

Before the concert, fans looked forward to the complexity Balvin would bring.   

“I’m looking forward to the brightness of his mentality, his attitude and what he brings as a performer” said Angelica Reyes, a longtime fan and 34-year-old makeup artist.  

The tour, which holds a partnership with the arts collective “FriendsWithYou,” launched early September in Atlanta, Georgia, and has since toured in cities like Miami, New York and Orlando.   

The Arcoiris Tour, meaning “rainbow tour” in Spanish, stayed true to its name as the Don Haskins was covered with neon lights, dancers in elaborate costumes and a backup Colombian singer that kept the energy high.   

The night began with some of Balvin’s top hits, including “Reggaeton,” “Machika” and “Ahora,” which instantly excited fans.  

The singer was accompanied on stage, not only by longtime DJ David Rivera Mazo, but also by backup dancers dressed in costumes that ranged from walking clouds to mushrooms.   

All the while, the performers were accompanied by a huge cloud-shaped screen, and two smaller screens that displayed colorful graphics throughout the night.   

Balvin continued the night by performing more of his hit songs like “Bonita” and “Ginza,” and iconic songs by fellow reggaeton singers, such as Wisin y Yandel’s “Rakata” and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.”   

He later moved on to perform “La Canción,” which is part of Balvin’s collaborative album with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, titled “Oasis.”  

The singer then came to a halt to express three important messages.   

He first spoke on the importance of addressing one’s own mental health, encouraging people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and letting the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

The singer also addressed border issues, by sharing his own story. The singer explained that eight years ago he came illegally into the U.S. where he painted houses and fixed roofs.  

“Vine con ese sueño de echar para adelante y seguí soñando. Después de pintar casas, pasé a pintar mis sueños.”  

“I came with a dream to move forward,” Balvin said in Spanish. “I followed that dream and after painting houses, I started painting my dreams.”   

Finally, Balvin’s third message of the night dealt with love for one another. 

“No sabemos qué pase mañana así que aprovecha y dile a la persona que tienes a lado lo mucho que lo amas, lo quieres,” the 34yearold singer said, as he encouraged people to raise their phones as a symbol of prayer for anyone in need of help. 

(“We don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” Balvin said. “So take advantage and tell the person next to you how much you love them.”) 

The night’s set continued with “I Like It,” a collaborative song with Bad Bunny and rapper Cardi B. The electro pop song won a 2019 Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Song.  

Balvin ended with “Mi Gente, bringing the audience to their feet one last time.  

Balvin did not end the show alone. The Colombian singer was accompanied by various dancing characters of different shapes and sizes, as rainbow confetti flew into the audience and the artist waved goodbye to a cheering crowd. 

“He dares his fans to be themselves,” Reyes said. “To be free, to open up, to not be scared and take challenges.”  

The singer has eight more stops before he reaches the end of his “Arcoiris Tour” at Los Angeles’s Staples Center. 

Anahy Diaz may be reached at [email protected] 

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