Jennifer Lopez took the stage Sunday night to pay tribute to Motown at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards, and the singer absolutely slayed. Speaking with ET’s Kevin Frazier backstage after her set, Lopez got emotional as she explained how her dynamic performance was also a tribute to her mother. “It was for my mom. I could cry. It’s such a good moment,” Lopez shared explaining how she grew up listening to Motown hits that her mom used to play when she was a kid. “It’s just a dream come true.”
The 49-year-old singer performed a jaw-dropping medley of Motown classics — including “Dancing in the Street,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Please Mr. Postman” and “Do You Love Me,” among others — before she was joined by GRAMMYs host Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo and by Smokey Robinson, who sang with her for a performance of “My Girl.”
“Singing up there with Smokey Robinson, like, I gotta pinch myself,” Lopez said. “I grew up on all those songs and because my mom loved him so much she passed him on to us.”
It’s exactly because of her lifelong love of the genre, and the impact it has had on her career, that the singer is not letting any criticism get under her skin.
After it was announced that Lopez had been tapped to lead the Motown tribute, some on Twitter slammed the decision, arguing that the Bronx-born pop icon doesn’t have a connection to the Motown genre.
Robinson himself defended Lopez’s involvement, telling Variety recently that “anyone is upset is stupid,” and the songstress shut down any other haters with her amazing performance.
“The thing about music is that it inspires all. Any type of music can inspire any type of artist,” Lopez told ET on Sunday. “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. You gotta do what’s in your heart.”
Lopez continued, explaining that the GRAMMY producers and Motown icon Berry Gordy were “thrilled” about her involvement.
“They know how much I have been influenced by that music and so it was a natural fit for them,” Lopez shared. “But for some people, it wasn’t, and that’s okay. I’m just very humbled and honored to be able to have sung those songs.”