- Jennifer Lopez performed as part of a Motown tribute with Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo at the 61st Grammys , which took place on Sunday at Los Angeles' Staples Center.
- The singer and entertainer faced backlash, and viewers felt that a black artist should have led the performance since the Motown record label propelled the careers of many soulful African-American artists.
- Speaking to "Entertainment Tonight," Lopez explained that as a child, her mom used to play Motown tracks for her and her siblings.
- "The thing about music is that it inspires all," she said. "Any type of music can inspire any type of artist. 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."
The singer and actress took the stage at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Sunday to pay homage to Motown, a legendary record label that was founded almost 60 years ago. Lopez led the medley (which included "Dancing in the Street," "My Girl," and "Please Mr. Postman") and was joined by Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo.
Many people were upset that Lopez was part of the tribute and felt that a black artist should've represented Motown, considering that the label gave soul artists like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and The Jackson 5 their start in the music industry.
Following her performance, Lopez defended her inclusion during an interview with "Entertainment Tonight's" Kevin Frazier .
"The thing about music is that it inspires all," she said. "Any type of music can inspire any type of artist. 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 added that the Grammys producers and Berry Gordy Jr., who founded the Motown label and its subsidiaries, "know how much I've been influenced by that music, so it was natural for them, but maybe some people didn't know, and that's OK."
The 49-year-old entertainer also said that she dedicated it to her mother, who played Motown tracks when Lopez and her three sisters were younger.
"I grew up on those songs, because my mom loved them so much that she passed them on to us," she said. "It was just a dream come true."
Prior to hitting the stage, Lopez also opened up about her connection on the red carpet and credited Motown to influencing her.
"I think that that's why I'm the performer that I am today, is because of that music and that time and because of my mom," she told E!'s Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet .
Robinson, who was a member of the Motown groupthe Miracles, also threw his support behind Lopez ahead of the Grammys.
Robinson added: "Motown was music for everybody. Everybody."
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