May 14 (UPI) -- Maluma's rep is defending the singer following his controversial kiss with his mom.
The rep issued a statement Tuesday to People after a photo of the 25-year-old Columbian singer kissing his mom, Marlli Arias, on the lips raised eyebrows Sunday on Mother's Day.
Maluma's rep told the magazine the kiss is a "cultural thing" and was meant to express love and respect.
"The beautiful thing is that he has been accepted in the American music market with open arms, and I think, now, where we are in this world with music, it's really global," the rep said. "Now people are going to be able to see different sides of our culture in different ways."
"It's normal in Latin culture especially if you're the only son or the baby in the house," the rep added. "It's affection and a form of respect. He's open about who he is and his cultural values, this is just part of it."
Maluma, who boasts 42 million Instagram followers, had shared the picture Sunday. Fans sounded off in the comments, with people both criticizing and supporting the kiss.
"WTF?! Is your mother or your girlfriend?!" one person wrote.
"I know in some countries its normal to kiss your relatives on the lips.. but that looks like a full on makeout sesh fixing to happen," another added.
"why y'all mad y'all acting like y'all never ever kissed y'all mom on the lips before estupido much," one person wrote in Maluma's defense.
Maluma is known for the singles "Borró Cassette," "El Perdedor," Felices los 4" and "Medellín" with Madonna. He will release his fourth studio album, 11:11, on Friday.