Jennifer Lopez Defends Grammys Motown Tribute Amid Twitter's Outrage
All the Can't Miss Moments from the 2019 Grammy Awards

The Latin-infused pop icon gets emotional as she explains why she was chosen and why she agreed to do a tribute to a famously black label featuring black artists.

UPDATE: 7:41 a.m. on 2/11/19

Jennifer Lopez defended her Motown performance at Sunday's Grammys, telling Entertainment Tonight backstage after her set, "It was for my mom. I could cry. It's such a good moment. It's just a dream come true."

Lopez got emotional as she explained that she grew up listening to Motown hits because her mother was always a big fan.

"Singing up there with Smokey Robinson, like, I gotta pinch myself," she said. "I grew up on all those songs, and because my mom loved him so much, she passed him on to us."

"The thing about music is that it inspires all," she continued. "Any type of music can inspire any type of artist. 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."

J.Lo told ET that Grammy producers and Motown icon Berry Gordy were "thrilled" with her involvement in the tribute.

"They know how much I have been influenced by that music, and so it was a natural fit for them," she said. "But for some people, [it wasn't], and that's okay. I'm just very humbled and honored to be able to have sung those songs."

When it was first announced that Lopez would be singing the Motown tribute, Smokey Robinson rushed to her defense, telling Variety, "I don't think anyone who is intelligent is upset. I think anyone who is upset is stupid."


Twitter had very strong opinions about the Grammys unexpected choice of Jennifer Lopez to headline their tribute to Motown, a famously black label featuring black artists. Most of those opinions are not great.

It was an unusual choice, not just because Lopez is not a black artist, but because her style and sound as a musician are absolutely nothing like anything that came out of Motown. The house that Barry Gordy built was home to soul, jazz and R&B, while J.Lo is a Latin-infused pop star.

She even brought high-energy salsa to her performance, leading many on social media to feel like this tribute missed the mark completely. It seemed to some that it was more about celebrating J.Lo than anything Motown represented.

As further evidence of that, J.Lo stripped down to a sequined leotard. It may be one of her signature looks, but there are no Motown artists that would have ever worn anything like that. The tribute was to celebrate a specific era of music and a specific style and presentation, and Lopez just didn't represent any of that.

Beyond that, there was a far bigger and simpler question that Twitter users were asking: Why did they not choose a black artist to celebrate this famously black label that was so important and influential in helping African-American artists break into the mainstream?

What Motown did for black artists was monumental and groundbreaking, and laid the foundation for so many who have come since. And there are so many amazing black artists out there today that could have killed a Motown tribute performance. Ne-Yo was there, but only briefly.

There are also plenty of actual, original Motown artists still active and killing the game. Smokey Robinson got just a few moments, while J.Lo carried the bulk of the performance.

If all of that wasn't bothersome enough for many Twitter users -- and it was -- many of them felt that Lopez was lip-syncing through the entire performance, so not only did they see it as an inappropriate and tone-deaf tribute to what Motown represented, it wasn't even a live tribute.

Below are some of Twitter's most heated reactions:

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