Jennifer Lopez’s motown tribute didn’t go over well with many viewers, who questioned why a non-black person was chosen to perform it.
It’s only February, and 2019 already has been a tough year for star-studded A-list events. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences had to scramble to fill a job nobody wanted after Kevin Hart stepped down as Oscar host amid controversy over his homophobic past on social media. The NFL found itself in a similar position while planning its halftime show due to its shoddy treatment of Colin Kaepernick over his kneel-in protest to racism in the U. S.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences have had its share of rough times this year, too. Ariana Grande bowed out of performing at the Grammys and boycotted the ceremony entirely over a showdown with the event’s producers over which song she would perform. And according to reports, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) all declined to perform, allegedly due to the Grammys ’ recent history of not rewarding black performers in the big categories.
The Recording Academy has fielded charges of racism for years, and as with AMPAS, the response has been to ramp up the diversity of its voting community. For the 2019 show, the Grammys tried to show its appreciation of black music history as well as contemporary black music artistry with its 60th-anniversary tribute to Motown, the record label that put black music and black performers on the pop map.
So why did they go and make it basically a showcase for Jennifer Lopez? She joined Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo, and 2019 Grammy host Alicia Keys for a medley of some of Motown’s greatest hits, but Lopez was given the largest portion of the segment and became its de facto headliner.
The temptation to go with Lopez likely had everything to do with ratings. She’s a huge superstar, and also the center of one of Grammys’ most memorable moments this century.

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