Jennifer Lopez defended her Grammys tribute to Motown’s 60th anniversary, reminding critics that she grew up listening to the iconic genre amid backlash that she was chosen to perform despite no direct ties to Motown.
“It was for my mom. I could cry. It’s such a good moment… it’s just a dream come true,” Lopez told Entertainment Tonight backstage following her performance.
Lopez headlined the tribute alongside famed Motown legend Smokey Robinson but the performance was shrouded in controversy. Fans far and wide became immediately outraged by the announcement that Lopez would headline the Motown tribute. The backlash was so severe that Robinson himself talked to Variety about it and shared some blunt words on the subject, telling the trade publication that “anyone who is upset is stupid.”
Lopez was honored to perform with the legend who defended her.
“Singing up there with Smokey Robinson, like, I gotta pinch myself,” Lopez told ET. “I grew up on all those songs and because my mom loved him so much she passed him on to us.”
Lopez hit the stage to sing “Dancing in the Street,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Do You Love Me,” and more. The 49-year-old performer was later joined on stage by Robinson, 78, who sang “My Girl.” They were then joined by host Alicia Keys who helped her sing “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” Ne-Yo and Guadalupe “Lupe” Rodriguez joined her on stage as well.
Lopez said it’s OK if some people felt she wasn’t a good fit for the tribute because she knows others, such as legendary producer Berry Gordy, were thrilled.
“I’m just very humbled and honored to be able to have sung those songs,” she said.
Prior to the Grammy awards’ starting, Lopez took to the red carpet with her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez to share with E! News host Ryan Seacrest that she felt a particular kinship with the songs of Motown.
“Super excited, humbled that they asked me to do it. But you know, I want to dedicate this performance to my mom because this is the music we listened to in our living room. Me and my mom. I have three sisters. So, the three of us would be the Temptations, The Supremes, everybody. And my mom, this was her music. I grew up on it. This and musicals,” Lopez said. “I think that’s why I’m the performer I am today, because of that music.”