Jennifer Lopez forced to defend Grammys performance

Jennifer Lopez played the mum card in her defence of the Motown tribute she performed at the 61st Grammy Awards.

Jennifer Lopez performs a medley during a tribute to Motown’s 60th anniversary at the Grammys on Sunday.Credit:AP

The two-time Grammy nominee sparked a backlash when she was announced as the headliner for the salute to the iconic label, famous for its stable of black artists, and viewers continued to air their grievances when Lopez took the stage at Staples Center on Sunday.

But the high-octane entertainer seemed unfazed by the lukewarm reception, explaining that her performance was also a tribute to her mother, who played Motown tunes for Lopez while she was growing up.

"It was for my mum. I could cry. It's such a good moment," Lopez told Entertainment Tonight backstage after the show. "It's just a dream come true."

Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys.Credit:MATT SAYLES

She added that Grammy producers and Motown co-founder Berry Gordy were thrilled she was involved because they knew how much she was influenced by Motown music. Gordy could be seen bopping along in the audience as Lopez ran through wardrobe changes and hits including Dancing in the Street, Please Mr. Postman, Do You Love Me and War.

"It was a natural fit for them," Lopez said. "But for some people, [it wasn't], and that's OK. I'm just very humbled and honoured to be able to have sung those songs."

Motown legend Smokey Robinson introduced the star and took the stage with her for the My Girl portion of the medley (they were also accompanied by host Alicia Keys and Ne-Yo) and he didn't appear to have qualms with the producers' selection either.

Lopez and Smokey Robinson at the Grammys.Credit:Invision

"Motown was music for everybody," Robinson told critics prior to the event.

That sentiment was one Lopez echoed alongside Keys and the show's surprise opening guest, Michelle Obama. The women, joined by Lady Gaga and Jada Pinkett Smith, spoke of music's unifying qualities.

Lopez spoke of how it catapulted her from the world of dance to the big screen.

"The thing about music is that it inspires all. Any type of music can inspire any type of artist," Lopez told ET.

"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."

Los Angeles Times

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