Jennifer Lopez's Motown tribute at the Grammys sparks backlash

Many felt that Jennifer Lopez was the wrong artist for the performance

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Monday 11 February 2019 05:16 GMT
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Grammys 2019: J Lo performs Motown tribute

Jennifer Lopez has received a backlash online for leading the Motown tribute at this year's Grammy Awards.

The pop star kicked things off with a medley of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street”, which transitioned into Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman.” She then took on the Berry Gordy track “Money (That’s What I Want)” and the Contours’ “Do You Love Me” and teased the Jackson 5’s “ABC".

“Ladies and gentlemen, Smokey Robinson,” Lopez said, introducing Smokey Robinson, who came out and sang the Temptations’ “My Girl" but changed the lyrics to “My Jen.”

Alicia Keys then joined Lopez the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and Edwin Starr’s “War” followed by Teena Marie’s “Square Biz.”

After it was announced that Lopez would perform the tribute, many Motown fans tweeted their confusion over why the Academy would honour the legendary record label with Lopez instead of a black artist, particularly during Black History Month.

Much of the reaction on social media was critical of the fact that Lopez had been chosen for the tribute, rather than a black artist.

"I just don't understand the creative decision," one audience member said, while another wrote: "I wanna know what strain they were smoking at the Grammys to think J Lo should do the Motown tribute."

Robinson defended Lopez’ performance at Saturday’s Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, pointing to the credibility of her youth spent growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in the Bronx.

“Motown was music for everybody. Everybody,” he said.

Lopez also opened up about her performance on the Grammy red carpet, telling Ryan Seacrest that she wanted to dedicate the performance to her mother.

“I want to dedicate the performance to my mom; it’s the music we listened to in our living room – The Temptations, The Supremes – this is her music and I grew up on it,” she said. “The performer I am today is because of that music.”

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