Jennifer Lopez Defends Her Grammys Motown Tribute, Says 'It Was For My Mom,' Despite It Literally Being For Motown
"You can't tell people what they can and can’t do, what they should sing or not sing."
Sunday's most controversial Grammy performance was a tribute to the legendary Motown Records by Jennifer Lopez.
According to Entertainment Tonight, the announcement that Lopez would be leading the tribute to honor the record label's 60th anniversary invited arguments that the Bronx native was not the ideal selection to celebrate a record company consisting predominantly of Black artists.
Despite the backlash, the 49-year-old took the stage at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards to perform hits like “Dancing in the Street,” “Do You Love Me,” “Money (That’s What I Want)” and “Please Mr. Postman.”
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
Lopez shared in a backstage interview with ET that she dedicated the performance to her mother, who raised her on the classic records.
“It was for my mom," she said. "It’s such a good moment. Singing up there with Smokey Robinson, like, I gotta pinch myself. I grew up on all those songs and because my mom loved him so much she passed him on to us.”
The singer, who currently has a residency in Las Vegas, shared how Grammy producers and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy were "thrilled" about her tribute.
"You can’t tell people what to love. You can't tell people what they can and can’t do, what they should sing or not sing. You gotta do what’s in your heart," Lopez shared in her defense. "They know how much I have been influenced by that music and so it was a natural fit for them."
She was later accompanied on stage by host Alicia Keys, Motown legend Smokey Robinson and Motown recording artist Ne-Yo. In an interview with Variety at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party on Saturday, Robinson defended the decision asserting that Motown's music is for everybody.
“I don’t think anyone who is intelligent is upset,” he said. “I think anyone who is upset is stupid.”
Check out the tweets following her set:
I love JLO God Knows I do, but Jenny from the block should’ve said no to this. You don’t have to take every job. (This Black History Month) 😒#JLO #Jenniferlopez #TheGrammys #TheGrammys2019 #motown #BHM pic.twitter.com/ievrv9ktlC— Tia D Brown (@ti_ya8) February 11, 2019'
Although I think #JLo is an amazing entertainer she’s not a vocalist and I’m very disappointed that she did a Motown tribute....like they couldn’t get any black singer/entertainers to perform...y’all really picked #jenniferlopez pic.twitter.com/ZVpYttDksI— CareBear 🐻 (@vascillating) February 11, 2019'
Me calling the cops on Jlo pic.twitter.com/siYAgM9TLP— INDIANA DESERVES KELZ/AD BACK-COURT (@deejay_RN) February 11, 2019'
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
Like this content? Check these out: