Jennifer Lopez performed a medley of Motown hits alongside Ne-Yo and the legendary Smokey Robinson at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday. Before the Puerto Rican singer hit the stage, critics blasted The Recording Academy for its choice.
“THANK YOU! My Girl…,” Robinson tweeted underneath an image of himself and Lopez onstage following the performance.
Before they hit the stage to tribute the Berry Gordy-founded label, Robinson hit back against social media critics. “I don’t think anyone who is intelligent is upset,” the Grammy Award-winning singer told Variety on Saturday. “I think anyone who is upset is stupid.”
For critics who believed it was a bad selection to honor a Black label with a Latina singer during Black History Month, Robinson said, “Motown was music for everybody. Everybody.”
A tearful Lopez double-downed on being a prominent figure of the tribute saying she did it for her mother who loved Motown music.
“My mom was a young mom. She used to have us in the living room dancing and singing,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “Singing up there with Smokey Robinson, I have to pinch myself. I grow up on all those songs because my mom loved them so much.”
The Bronx-born entertainer 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.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.