Berry Gordy, who stood during Lopez's performance, founded Motown Records in 1959. Motown was a black-owned record label that put out music by predominantly black artists like the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye.
Lopez responded to the criticism by saying the songs were important to her family growing up, and that race shouldn't have played a role in her choice to perform.
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". But when the show announced that Jennifer Lopez would be included in the performance, people weren't quite sure what was going to go down.
When asked how she felt about the backlash she was already copping in the days leading up to her performance - which also included a duet with legendary singer Smokey Robinson - Lopez said that Motown and music in general belongs to everybody. "The thing about music is that it inspires all", she told Entertainment Tonight, adding: "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". They argued the Grammys should've chosen an African American singer. "I'm just very humbled and honored to be able to have sung those songs". "It's such a good moment".
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"I don't think anyone who is intelligent is upset", he told Variety.
Besides Robinson, one person who was most definitely thrilled to see Lopez perform the tribute at the Grammys was her boyfriend, former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
Robinson elaborated, "Motown was music for everybody". At one point, he mouthed, "Wow".
"It was for my mom", she said.