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J. Balvin became the first Latino artist to headline NFL Kickoff Experience concert. Photo: Courtsey of GUESS
J. Balvin became the first Latino artist to headline the NFL Kickoff Experience Concert in Long Beach, California September 8. Photo: Courtsey of GUESS

J. Balvin makes history in the NFL

J. Balvin became the first Latino artist to headline the NFL Kickoff Experience Concert in Long Beach, California September 8.

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Football is Back in America! What better way to kick off the new season than with people of color headlining the festivities?  J. Balvin, the Colombian "Príncipe del Reggaetón"  led celebrations with a performance ahead of the first game of the year, which saw the Buffalo Bills battle with reigning Super Bowl champs, the Los Angeles Rams.

Thousands of fans wore jerseys from their favorite teams — although the event’s location a majority were wearing Rams gear — fans came to Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, California for a free day event that featured all sorts of activities, including a beach football field. 

Before Balvin took the stage for the official NFL Kickoff Concert, a local mariachi serenaded the audience and the Alabama State Marching Hornets later took over with a fantastic performance. Opening for Balvin was West Coast-based DJ and second-generation Korean-American Tokimonsta, where the ongoers danced to her eclectic set.

An inflatable giant hand appeared onstage holding up Balvin's large smiling face balloon. This meant that the reggaeton artist was ready to take the stage. Balvin, who became the first Latino artist to headline this NFL concert, took the stage and performed for nearly an hour.

He appeared in army-like fatigues styled with a matching ski-mask only showing his eyes. Balvin kicked off with the fan-favorite “Mi Gente” then went on to perform consecutive hits like “Nivel de Perreo,” “Con Altura,” “I Like It” and “In Da Getto.” Balvin brought out a special guest, Trueno, a rising hip-hop artist from Argentina, to perform their collaboration “Un Paso.”

For Balvin, having performed at Super Bowl LIV in 2020 along with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez and now opening up the 2022 NFL season, he feels amazed with the platform he has.

"Pa' La Cultura  - We have the opportunity through music and fashion to tell a story and help the world, said Balvin, "We're here and we have to be proud about it."

Balvin is also in collaborations with Nike for the new Air Jordans II expected to release this October.

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