Jennifer Lopez was the centerpiece of the Grammys’ Motown tribute, yikes

61st Annual Grammy Awards

Jennifer Lopez was one of the few major female pop stars at the Grammys, although when all was said and done, it really did feel like the Grammy producers were making an effort to show more women throughout, especially given last year’s much-criticized sausage party. J.Lo turned up on the red carpet with her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, who tried to participate in music’s biggest night. J.Lo wouldn’t even let him share her mic during the red carpet interview on CBS. It was pretty funny.

Also funny? Jennifer’s red carpet ensemble, which was Ralph and Russo, straight off the runway. The jumpsuit was great, honestly, and if that was it, I would have been all for it. Unfortunately, Jennifer also grabbed a giant hat, which was unwieldy on the carpet and inside. I don’t get how giant hats are a thing now.

As for Jennifer’s participation in the Motown Tribute…there’s backlash and it’s WELL deserved. To be fair, Grammy producers knew exactly what they were doing and they were absolutely inviting people to pile on J.Lo. She could have turned it down, especially when it was clear that she was going to be the centerpiece of the “tribute to Motown” despite the fact that she really has no connection to Motown, and (frankly) she’s not black. Smokey Robinson defended her, but really… this was a bad decision all around. What were the producers thinking, and what was she thinking?

61st Annual Grammy Awards

61st Annual Grammy Awards

61st Annual Grammy Awards

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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75 Responses to “Jennifer Lopez was the centerpiece of the Grammys’ Motown tribute, yikes”

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  1. PhillyGal says:

    It’s a nice Derby hat.

    • Olenna says:

      Agree; wrong venue. I did like Janelle Monae’s, though.

    • mint says:

      Since when is Jlo morphing into Melania?

      • velourazure says:


      • Pandy says:

        Yes, they have that stone face in common! i thought she looked ridiculous onstage with the other women and Michelle Obama … you couldn’t even tell who she was under the giant sombrero. She looked silly. And she’s not even a singer, really – who thought SHE should lead a motown tribute? Good grief. She deserves the pile on.

      • mint says:

        Remember the big white hat Melania was wearing when meeting the french President and first lady? Very similar look. Maybe its the Melania robot all over again.
        Jlo may be an entertainer but she isnt good at acting nor singing. In my opinion she is horrible, actually. She cant pull this off, she does not have the voice for it. But more importantly, when you think of Motown, the first singer that comes to mind is Jennifer Lopez?! How? Why? Wtf? Its wrong on so many levels. She should have declined. It would have been the decent thing to do.

      • Nor'easter says:

        She is Dr. Pimple Popper’s (Dr. Sandra Lee) twin.

    • AmericanInOz says:

      Derby is held in the Spring. Traditionally it would be a straw hat, not a felt halt like she’s wearing.

  2. Clare says:

    I kind of love that JLo is 100% EXTRA at ALL times. Like, there is no shame in her game…
    I just wish she would stop trying to sing/perform ‘live’ because its almost always a hot mess.

    • Alexandria says:

      I think she’s a great performer but she can’t sing. It’s the same with Madonna and Britney. There’s a space for these type of artistes but they can’t be in denial about their singing lol.

      • AnnaKist says:

        ^^^ What Alexandria said. 🙃

      • BigGirl says:

        I’m Black and love MoTown .. but JLo just cannot sing to carry that sound off. I’m trying to thing of a really basic MoTown singer and can’t. They couldn’t have found Teena Marie or Gaga if they wanted non Black.. just someone with pipes

      • enya says:

        I think Teena died a few years ago, sadly.

      • Snappyfish says:

        She can’t sing & her lip syncing is questionable as well. She looks great but I still blame Puffy for JLo. She was good in Selena (where she lip synced to Selena) The hat & way too long pony was all wrong

      • Megan says:

        Someone must have gotten their Jennifers crossed because I am pretty sure Jennifer Hudson was who they meant to book.

    • bananapanda says:

      You know who’s surprisingly good at Motown – Joan Osborne.

      • BB says:

        While I adore Joan Osborne (hers was the first album I ever bought) she would have been completely inappropriate for a tribute to the black cultural, artistic, and social touchstone that is Motown Records.

  3. Nacho_friend says:

    Big hats are a big thing again, bc of Beyoncé last year. And is is the one who brought the drama with that accessory

    • Jen says:

      That’s what I thought! This reminded me of the version of the black hat, dress and big necklace Beyonce wore as a “Formation” look.

      • CityGirl says:

        My instant thought when I saw her was she wanted to out Beyonce , Beyonce, if you know what I mean.

  4. Amanda says:

    “…what was she thinking?”

    She saw an opportunity to be the centre of attention and took it.

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      Exactly. Some celebrities reach a point where they honestly think they’re untouchable and she’s one of them. Her constant wearing of real fur shows this as well.

      • Maggie says:

        I can smell the desperation through my phone. As she becomes older and less relevant her “thirstiness” increases.

    • EMc says:

      Yep, this.

      I did enjoy when they panned to Alex at the end and his eyes were kinda big and he said “wow..” that was sweet. She shouldnt have done it, but I thought she was pretty fierce. Maybe a little over the top, but girl can perform.

    • SarahLee says:

      What Amanda said. We were all talking about “Why int he world was JLo the Motown tribute? Could Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson not just handled that shit and called it a day? My 16 year old also noticed no Michael Jackson songs in the Motown tribute.

  5. Larelyn says:

    The squint was so strong I thought that was Melania in the header pic.

    • JanetDR says:

      Haha! I think that her looks are always so dramatic that I wouldn’t know who JLo was if it weren’t for the headline. I don’t think that’s a good thing (and she is a lovely woman). That’s true for Katy Perry too. Let yourself shine and the clothes compliment!

    • AnnaKist says:

      I’m with you, Larelyn. Hard to tell if JL is trying to channel MT or vice versa…

    • smcollins says:

      Lol so true. She’s moved on from the supposed-to-be-sultry sleepy eyes and open mouth to Melania-level squinting and puckered lips. She’s such a naturally stunning woman that these little theatrics in hard posing are so not necessary.

  6. xdanix says:

    J.Lo was NEVER going to turn it down. NEVER.

  7. claudette says:

    they obviously chose not to use her for the latin medley so had to stick her in something so Boom, Motown number. But WTF.

  8. TheBees says:

    Nope, that’s not weird at all! 🤥

  9. Erinn says:

    I can’t get past the lipstick. It’s such an awful shade for her. It looks cheap, and the brown liner makes it worse.

    • AnnaKist says:

      It’s such a horrid look that even Pamela Anderson finally ditched it. JL looks as if she stayed home in her slippers and dressing gown and sent in her waxwork from Madame Tussaud’s.

  10. anniefannie says:

    JLO: please note, hat is wearing you, not a good look. She’s consistent in wanting to bring the drama, unfortunately it’s a tightrope and she definitely teetered off…

  11. Chaine says:

    I think she looks fabulous, hat and all! A-Rod took a little bit of a fashion gamble though with that jacket.

  12. Deanne says:

    Ira from Daybreak tweeted that Michelle Obama could have stuck around to do the Motown tribute if the need was that dire. J Lo is definitely beautiful and knows how to take up space but the woman has zero connection to Motown and that coupled with the fact that she can’t sing was a travesty.

  13. Lila says:

    I don’t even know who to blame. There are soooo many artists who could’ve done the tribute…. It’s kind of a slap in the face that she was chosen. She has zero connection to black American culture. It was all a mess. SMH

    • tempest prognosticator says:

      Blame the Grammy producers. It’s all on them.

      • OriginalLala says:

        she could have said no, she has agency, she chose to do it

      • Elizabeth says:

        Bingo. When Diana Ross was. In. The. House.
        Steve Wonder is in the same state ffs. And how about using any of the Motown backup musicians that are still alive? And use Motown dances? That would be a tribute I would love to see. On the plus side Buddy Guy won a grammy for Blues, so it wasn’t a total waste.

  14. Kimma1216 says:

    That LIP POSE she does, drives me insane!

  15. HK9 says:

    My feeling about her look is while she looks great, Beyonce has already done this so she should have left the hat alone. It’s been done.

  16. minx says:

    She can’t sing. So, there’s that.

  17. Mia says:

    Smokey Robinson needs to go change his depends. J Lo is a pop star, great entertainer but no vocal chops. I think I’ll start a petition for Ciara to do a Gloria Estefan tribute during the latin awards.

  18. BaeBae says:

    This was a slap in the face to black artists everywhere who have always had to fight to have their voices heard. I love Jlo to pieces but she should NOT be headlining a Motown tribute. And during Black History Month at that!

    • DP says:

      Totally agree. Such a shame that they didn’t choose a talented black artist.
      On top of all that, she is not a strong enough singer!

  19. Nina Simone says:

    Black women are being erased from the culture they helped created and pioneer. It is clear as day. Our work and contributions are celebrated but we are not. Very sad

    • Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

      It’s hard to argue that black women are being erased from culture given all these fabulous ladies who performed last night:
      Janelle Monae
      Cardi B
      Diana Ross
      Alicia Keys
      Chloe x Halle
      Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, and Andra Day as the Aretha tribute.

      I would say they commanded the stage last night and aren’t being erased one bit!

      • Kitten says:

        I thought Cardi was LatinX not black?

      • Lboogi says:

        Those women performed but are they on the pop charts? Or do you see Ariana, Dua lipa, Gaga, Camellia Cabella and others being pushed as the new faces of soul, r&b? How many songs do you know of the artists you listed? Tribute to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, etc… often they pick Christina Aguliera, or Ariana. Behind Jlo’s performance they white washed Motown. The background had print saying Motown made music for all people and signed black and white. While there were white artist signed later in Motown’s history, it was founded because black artists were often looked over, dismissed, and their music stolen from them and given to white artists to perform.

        Fun fact: The first lady of blue eyed soul, Teena Marie, did not have her face on her debut album. They didn’t want people to know she was not black. The reverse of what happened to many black performers had happen to them back in the day

    • Christina says:

      Agreed, Nina Simone. There were plenty of Black artists who could have done it and who sing well. JLo just ended a Vegas show, so the Grammy people knew what they were getting: a high profile person who could do the work and get attention for it. The cultural part didn’t matter to them, but its so important to the history of Motown’s music. Yes, there were a lot of Black young women who performed last night, and we can all sing each other’s songs because we love them, but this looks like the same old folks in power are making the same old decisions about Black Women not being as marketable as someone like JLo if you can’t afford or interest Beyoncé. I’m sure Beyoncé would have done it if they let her TRULY express herself as a Black woman carrying the legacy, but I think they wanted something they perceived as safe. Same shit, different day…

  20. Amy Tennant says:

    Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

  21. incognito08 says:

    I suppose the Black artists with great vocal range were busy that night. Janelle Monae was sitting in the audience and she is a great artist and performer. Truth be told, my expectations weren’t too high with the Grammy Awards after they previously pegged Madonna for the Michael Jackson tribute.

  22. Marty says:

    The thing is, I don’t think people would have been upset if she was ONE of many performers for the tribute, but to make her the LEAD?! Who thinks of solo Motown melody and immediately thinks of JLO? Nobody, that’s who.

    • Lboogi says:

      I think most people would have been totally fine if Jlo just had a line of a song of somebody’s motown song. I mean if they had picked Bruno Mars hardly anyone would’ve said anything because he’s been doing Motown style music throughout his career. But if I’m being honest… there was no song that Jlo truly did justice to.

  23. Jaded says:

    Terrible choice, it’s like having Miley Cyrus do a tribute to Pavarotti. And jeezuz J-Lo STAHHPPPP with the pose-hard!!

  24. mar says:

    this was a TOTAL miss for JLO in EVERY WAY

  25. Nev says:

    I thought her performance was fantastic. I am black and wasn’t offended.

    • Sunny says:

      @ Nev
      I though it was terrible and I’m a fan of Jennifer Lopez.
      I don’t think she has a good voice at all.
      She is a very attractive woman, who seems to me – works very hard, she is definitely hassling and doesn’t seem to take anything for granted, regardless how long she has been in the entertainment business.
      Jennifer still puts in the work and I love that she doesn’t let herself go, even at 50.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      I agree, it was fantastic.

  26. She really needs to put a boot up her makeup artist’s arse for this one. EVen on camera, all decked-out in her gear, she is wearing TOO MUCH MAKEUP. The contouring, the ashy foundation! Oy!

    She was always one of the celebs whose makeup I used to really admire – all glowy and sunkissed and smooth. I don’t know if this is a product choice problem, a color choice problem, formula problem, or some combo of all of these, but this is ghastly. I thought the photo of her and A-Rod was a still from Madam Tussaud’s.

  27. Olivia says:

    Wow she looks beyond awful. All of it, so tacky so cheapo costume store. Good god girl. Give it up. And why?? of all the people with absolutely no connection to Motown….

  28. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Idiotic. But what can you expect from the Grammys?