Motown Responds to Critics of Jennifer Lopez’s Grammys Tribute

Danny Woods
February 13, 2019

Smokey Robinson is doubling down on his support of Jennifer Lopez and her tribute to Motown music at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

The Latino pop star's medley of Dancing In The Street, Mr Postman, and Tears Of A Clown during Black History Month in the United States caused much derision on social media. Smokey Robinson, who joined Lopez on stage Sunday, defended her during a pre-Grammy gala on Saturday. "I don't think anyone who is intelligent is upset".

Former first lady Michelle Obama was also at the ceremony. After all, it's Motown's 60th anniversary. So that just says Jennifer Lopez, growing up in her Hispanic neighborhood, wherever she was, loved Motown.

The singer, who now has a residency in Las Vegas, shared how Grammy producers and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy were "thrilled" about her tribute. "Any type of music can inspire any type of artist", Lopez told Entertainment Tonight.

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A number of viewers shared their dissatisfaction with Lopez's performance online. You can't tell people what they can and can't do, what they should sing or not sing. It was frightful, the antithesis to everything Motown ever represented. Motown churned out Black artist after Black artist who became icons of music in a time when Black people were combating overt racism on the daily.

"So now if you're gonna try to diminish the scope of Motown and narrow it down to just music for Black people and you call yourself defending the image of Motown".

Lalah Hathaway's whole body and self was sitting in the audience during a soulless Motown tribute.

So sure, since Lopez's mother was a big fan of Motown, it must be incredibly appropriate for her, a pop singer outside of the genre, to pay tribute to the genre's history alongside one of its greatest legends. "I could cry. It's such a good moment". Suggestions of having black performers like Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Jennifer Hudson, Tina Tuner or "practically anyone else" were lobbied to take Lopez's place. "You can't tell people what they can and can't do - what they should sing or not sing".

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