Jennifer Lopez is an iconic singer, actress and business owner from the Bronx, New York, U.S.A. Both of Lopez’s parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico, and met after moving to New York. IMBd.com says Lopez’s music is inspired by her parents’ culture as well as U.S. hiphop and pop music, which we can see in several of her songs.
Marcina Diaz, a self-proclaimed Jennifer Lopez enthusiast, says she remembers hearing Lopez’s music for the first time in the late 1990s:
I love her music. My mother, who’s from Mexico, plays it when she cleans, all the time. She inspires me to embrace my hispanic culture. She was one of the first Latin/American hiphop artists I ever saw in music and movies as a kid. And her Super Bowl performance? Needless to say, she killed it. And she did it in a way that embraced diversity. Iconic.
And it’s true, Lopez never hides her cultural background. However, it was tricky finding an interview of her speaking about it. In an interview with NBC Latino, she says:
I’ve never ever tried to hide the fact that I was a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Everybody knew it right off the bat. It’s not something I felt would be a detriment, it made me special and who I am.
Lopez’s music is now played all over the world, and she has toured in multiple countries. Her ability to speak and sing in Spanish has made her music culturally fluid. This fluidity allows her popularity to expand beyond a single country.
Lopez’s outstanding Super Bowl performance
In February 2020, Lopez and Shakira (another Latin musical icon) took the stage at the Super Bowl. Together, they expressed their Latin pride throughout their performances, singing songs in about 50 percent English and 50 percent Spanish, as well as dancing multiple cultural dances. Lopez also brought out a U.S. flag that converted into a Puerto Rican flag on her arms. Bad Bunny and J Balvin, also famous Latin performers, were brought out as surprise appearances.
We can see that performance contained a lot of culture. It was energetic and empowering, and seemed to be an overall celebration. But there were, however, many complaints made by viewers.
While most complaints were about the explicitness of the dances and outfits, more than a few complained about there being “too many” Latin elements in the show.
Lopez has no problem shooting down these critiques. As she told USA Today:
We did a show that I believe was a celebration of women and our Latino culture that I think was really well reserved. And that small faction of people who want to be negative about it, I can’t even let in because it was such an amazing night.
It’s easy to see why Jennifer Lopez is such an influential celebrity. She has no problem embracing her cultural identity and showing love to her community. She shows us that we do not need to conform, but rather that we should embrace who we are.
Her performances can inspire us all to do the same as well. And we can find power in what makes us different.