“Despacito” is everywhere, except MTV.
The music video for Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Latinx smash — which boasts over 3.2 billion views on YouTube, making it the site’s most-watched video of all time — didn’t receive a single nomination for this year’s Video Music Awards. In a statement to the Associated Press, MTV explained the apparent snub, saying “the ‘Despacito’ video was not submitted for consideration.”
Despite its cultural ubiquity this summer, the clip for “Despacito” has not played on MTV or MTV2, though it is in rotation on the network’s Latin channel, MTV Tres. The AP reported that MTV did not provide an explanation for the clip’s absence on its U.S. channels.
However, the remix of the song featuring Justin Bieber — which for the 14th week in a row is atop the Billboard Hot 100, threatening to break Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 16-week record with “One Sweet Day” — will be recognized in the show’s song of summer category. The rest of the nominees will be announced on Aug. 21, six days before the VMAs ceremony on Aug. 27.
Universal Music Latin Entertainment, the label behind the track, didn’t clarify why the music video wasn’t submitted for the VMAs or isn’t playing on MTV’s main channel but provided the AP with the following statement: “Great songs transcend geography and language, and our artists produce music videos that reach a passionate global audience, highlighted by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee quickly breaking viewership and streaming records across audio and video platforms with ‘Despacito.’ We’re proud to work with MTV to expose new audiences to our artists’ music and we would welcome MTV’s decision to recognize Spanish-language videos on its main channel and the Music Video Awards program.”
Bieber, who is included in the remix but does not yet appear in a music video for the song, was criticized in May for flubbing the song’s Spanish lyrics in live performances. Facing backlash on social media, Spotify in June removed ads declaring Bieber a “Latin King.”
“We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate ‘Despacito’ as a key cultural moment when music genres crossover,” a Spotify spokesperson told the Huffington Post at the time. “We realized that this could be seen as culturally insensitive, so we have pulled those ads.”