Jennifer Lynn Affleck (néeLopez; born July 24, 1969), also known as J.Lo, is an American singer, actress, and dancer. In 1991, she began appearing as a Fly Girl dancer on the sketch comedy television series In Living Color, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. For her first leading role in Selena (1997), she became the first Hispanic actress to earn over US$1 million for a film. She went on to star in Anaconda (1997) and Out of Sight (1998), and established herself as the highest-paid Hispanic actress in Hollywood.
Lopez is a middle child; she has an older sister, Leslie, and a younger sister, Lynda. The three shared a bedroom. Lopez has described her upbringing as "strict". She was raised in a Roman Catholic family; she attended Mass every Sunday and received a Catholic education, attending Holy Family School and the all-girls Preston High School. In school, Lopez ran track on a national level, participated in gymnastics, and was on the softball team. She danced in school musicals and played a lead role in a production of Godspell.
There was "lots of music" in the typically Puerto Rican household, and Lopez and her sisters were encouraged to sing, dance and create their own plays for family events.West Side Story made a particular impression on the young Lopez and she wanted to be an entertainer from an early age. At the age of five, she began taking dance lessons at Ballet Hispánico on the Upper West Side. As a teenager, she learned flamenco, jazz, and ballet at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and taught dance to younger students, including Kerry Washington. After graduating from high school, she had a part-time secretarial job at a law firm and studied business at New York's Baruch College for one semester. Lopez made her acting debut at age 16 with a small role in the 1986 film My Little Girl. At age 18, she enrolled as a full-time student at Manhattan's Phil Black Dance Studio, where she had already taken night classes in jazz and tap dance. Her parents were unhappy with her decision to leave college to pursue a dance career. Her mother asked her to move out of the family home and they stopped speaking for eight months. Lopez moved to Manhattan, sleeping in the dance studio's office for the first few months.
Lopez's most high-profile job as a professional dancer was as a Fly Girljazz-funk dancer on the sketch comedy television series In Living Color, which starred comedians including Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey. At the New York audition, the show's choreographer, Rosie Perez, noticed that Lopez had "star quality" and "did not complain, not once" when asked to repeatedly perform the dance routine. Lopez moved to Los Angeles in late 1991 for the job; she filmed In Living Color during the day and attended acting classes taught by Aaron Speiser at night. The head of Virgin Records considered signing The Fly Girls as a girl group to rival the Spice Girls, but the deal fell apart. After appearing as a Fly Girl in seasons three and four of In Living Color, Lopez left to work as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson, and appeared in the music video for "That's the Way Love Goes". She was scheduled to tour with Jackson on her Janet World Tour in late 1993 but opted to pursue an acting career instead.
Lopez's first professional acting job was a small recurring role on the television show South Central (1994). She was invited to audition for the pilot by a casting director who had seen her speak to camera during a behind-the-scenes In Living Color segment. Lopez then acquired an agent and was cast in the CBS show Second Chances and its spin-off Hotel Malibu. She appeared in the direct-to-video drama film Lost in the Wild (1993). For her first major movie role, in Gregory Nava's 1995 drama Mi Familia, Lopez received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. Lopez then starred in the action comedy Money Train (1995). Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said she "mostly holds her own" with co-stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, while Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised her "scene-stealing charm". In 1996, Lopez had a supporting role opposite Robin Williams in the comedy Jack. She next starred opposite Jack Nicholson in the neo-noir thriller Blood and Wine (1997). David Rooney of Variety felt Lopez delivered in "juggling" the "smoldering and soulful sides" of the character but Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said she was "used as a place marker rather than as a real girl."
With her casting as the singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the biopic Selena (1997), Lopez became the first Latina actress to earn $1 million. She was excited by the rare opportunity to "actually star" in a movie "in the title role" but expressed disappointment that other Latina actors were not being afforded the same opportunities. Despite having previously worked with the film's director on Mi Familia, Lopez participated in an intense auditioning process and spent time with the late singer's family in Corpus Christi, Texas before filming began.Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described it as "a star-making performance" and particularly enjoyed the onstage scenes: "She has the star presence to look convincing in front of 100,000 fans."Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised the "incandescent" performance. Over the years, many have considered her performance worthy of a nomination at the Academy Awards: "I felt she not only should have been nominated, but she should have won an Oscar for that part," director and writer Gregory Nava says. Nava felt so strongly about Lopez's performance he approached the heads of Warner Bros., at the time, and asked for an Academy campaign. He remembers they said, "She deserves it, but the Academy will never nominate her. They'll never nominate a Latina." Later in 1997, Lopez starred opposite Ice Cube in the horror film Anaconda. While Joe Leydon of Variety found Anaconda "silly", he said the film deserved "a little credit" for being "the first movie of its kind to have a Latina and an African-American" as its stars. In the crime film U Turn (1997), Lopez appeared topless in a sex scene that was added by director Oliver Stone during filming. Speaking in 2003, Lopez said it was not something "I would have chosen to do" and that she and Stone fought over it: "It's hard being the only woman on a set ... But it actually worked in the movie ... This woman, Grace, had become a piece of flesh almost. Her body wasn't her own."
Lopez starred opposite George Clooney in the crime caper Out of Sight (1998), Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of the Elmore Leonardnovel of the same name. Cast as a deputy federal marshal who falls for a charming criminal, Lopez won rave reviews for her performance. Janet Maslin of The New York Times described it as her "best movie role thus far, and she brings it both seductiveness and grit; if it was hard to imagine a hard-working, pistol-packing bombshell on the page, it couldn't be easier here." Turan of the Los Angeles Times described Lopez as "an actress who can be convincingly tough and devastatingly erotic" and said the film solidified "her position as a woman you can confidently build a film around." Her costar George Clooney noted of her performance, in November 2020: "Every actress in town read for that part, and part of it was that she had to be sexy, but you also had to believe that she could shoot you and kill you. And Jennifer had all of that. You know, you believe every minute when she picked up a gun, she might pull the trigger and blow your head off, and she was really good. She was wonderful in the film, and it’s funny because she’s had an amazing career, and gone on to do so many things, and sort of be an all-around entertainer, but I think if you look back, that’s a performance. That really stands out for her." Also in 1998, Lopez provided the voice of Azteca in the animated film Antz.
Lopez launched a music career in 1999 because, after Selena, she had missed "the excitement of the stage" and was "really feeling [her] Latin roots". Lopez's new manager Benny Medina sought to position her as "a brand name that will cross over into all media." Lopez recorded a Spanish-language demo for circulation among prospective labels. Tommy Mottola, the head of Sony Music's Work Group, signed her but suggested that she sing in English instead. Her debut album On the 6, named after the 6 Subway line which connected her childhood home in the Bronx to Manhattan, was filled with what Ed Morales of the Los Angeles Times described as "state-of-the-art dance pop ... even if Lopez's vocals are largely anonymous." The album was a success and Lopez's debut single, "If You Had My Love", topped the Billboard Hot 100, with another single, "Waiting for Tonight", reaching number eight. In 2000, Lopez and then-boyfriend Sean Combs attended the Grammy Awards, with Lopez wearing a plunging green Versace silk chiffon dress. The dress generated worldwide attention and became the most popular search query in Google's history, leading to the creation of Google Images. Lopez returned to the big screen in 2000, starring in the psychological thriller The Cell. David Edelstein of Slate remarked that the "imperious" Lopez was "trying to look waifishly expectant" while Amy Taubin of The Village Voice noted that she appeared to be engaged "in some kind of pouting competition" "in lieu of acting."
Lopez became the first woman to have a number one film and album simultaneously when, in early 2001, the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner, co-starring Matthew McConaughey, and her sophomore album J.Lo were released in the same week. In a review of The Wedding Planner, Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that, while there was "no doubt of Lopez's screen poise or acting chops", she should choose comedic projects with "more bite." Jessica Winter of The Village Voice found her "bewilderingly miscast" as a "buttoned down, celibate" woman, writing that the movie "achieves the dubious but perversely impressive feat, for its 90-minute duration, of neutering Jennifer Lopez." The album J.Lo received mixed reviews. Jon Pareles of Rolling Stone was unimpressed by her "merely adequate, studio-assisted voice": "While dance pop doesn't necessarily demand great singers, Lopez is just scraping by."J.Lo ultimately became the best-selling release of her career, and included the singles "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and "I'm Real", the latter of which reached number one in the US. In other 2001 work, Lopez launched her first business venture, the clothing line J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez, and starred opposite Jim Caviezel in the romantic drama Angel Eyes. Lopez's performance was well-reviewed, with Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle describing her as "an actress who can do things other movie stars can't do. She doesn't push, just thinks, and her thoughts and emotions burn into the film."
The romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan (2002), in which Lopez starred opposite Ralph Fiennes, became the highest-grossing film of her career. Reviewing Maid in Manhattan, A. O. Scott of The New York Times enjoyed Lopez as a romantic lead and said "her greatest skill as an actress -- and the key to her brain-addling sexiness -- may be her ability to melt without cracking the hard shell of composure she wears." She starred as an abused wife seeking revenge in the thriller Enough. An overworked Lopez suffered a nervous breakdown in 2001 while filming it. Upon its release in 2002, Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was unimpressed by the "tacky material" and was surprised to see "an actress like Jennifer Lopez" involved with the project. Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club said "the film's idiocy works for Lopez: Every diva needs at least one camp classic on her résumé".
Lopez released two albums in 2002. The first was a remix album, J to tha L–O! The Remixes, featuring rappers Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Fat Joe and P Diddy. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with its lead single Ain't It Funny (Murder Remix)" reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Lopez's third studio album, This Is Me... Then, was released in late 2002. Jon Caramanica of The Village Voice was unimpressed by her studio-enhanced vocals and expressed bemusement as to how the "mega-millionaire Bronx-expat public-fantasy bombshell" was "making the least interesting music on the pop charts today." Despite having the highest opening sales of Lopez's career, the album charted at number six on the Billboard 200. The album's lead single "Jenny from the Block", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 while its second single, "All I Have", reached number one. In 2002 business ventures, Lopez opened Madre's, a Los Angeles restaurant serving Latin cuisine, and released her first fragrance, Glow by JLo. It became the top-selling fragrance in the US, and Lopez has since released over 18 fragrances as part of a licensing deal with Coty.
Box-office failures and declining record sales (2003–2010)
Lopez became the subject of widespread media criticism in 2003 due to her public relationship with Affleck and the tabloid depiction of her as a demanding diva. Her perceived diva behavior and relationship with Affleck was also parodied on South Park in the episode "Fat Butt and Pancake Head". The Guardian published an article exploring her "bilious" media coverage, with journalist Lawrence Donegan positing that "indefensible" misogyny and racism were to blame for her position as "the most vilified woman in modern popular culture". Lopez fired both her personal manager Benny Medina and her publicist in mid-2003; The New York Times reported that movie executives had become frustrated by having their communications with Lopez "largely filtered" through Medina. She became the face of Louis Vuitton's fall–winter advertising campaign and starred opposite Affleck in the romantic comedy Gigli (2003). The film was a box-office bomb and is considered one of the worst films of all time. Rex Reed of The Observer criticized the lead actors, writing that the film reminds the world how "pathetically incompetent they both are in the only two things that matter in career longevity - craft and talent."Roger Ebert agreed that the movie "doesn't quite work", but instead considered Lopez and Affleck "appealing in their performances" and that they "have chemistry" together. Lopez had a minor role opposite Affleck in the film Jersey Girl (2004). Following test audiences' negative reactions to the onscreen couple, Lopez's screen time was halved. Lopez later described this as the lowest point of her career and admitted she felt "eviscerated" by the media coverage surrounding Gigli: "I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything. And my relationship self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again." Later in 2004, Lopez launched her second fashion label, Sweetface, and starred opposite Richard Gere in the romantic comedy-drama Shall We Dance?, which was a box-office success.
The marketing for the romantic comedy Monster-in-Law (2005), in which Lopez starred opposite Jane Fonda, played up her "Gigli-and-tabloid tarnished image", and it became a box office success. She released her fourth studio album, Rebirth, in early 2005. It was recorded during a period where Lopez felt "a little bit lost, trying to get my footing in a new life": "I had just gotten married [to singer Marc Anthony] ... I wasn't with Benny [Medina]." Alexis Petridis of The Guardian remarked that the album title "suggests even Lopez has realised that something is amiss with her career ... Despite the highlights, you're still left pondering the question: what happened to Jennifer Lopez?" While the album reached number two on the Billboard 200 and its lead single "Get Right" charted at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100, the second and final single "Hold You Down" peaked at number 64. She returned the Billboard Hot 100 the following year, at number four, when she was a featured artist on "Control Myself", the lead single from LL Cool J's twelfth studio album.
Lopez's next three movie projects were box office failures. She starred alongside Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman in the drama An Unfinished Life (2005). Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times predicted that the typical review would be unkind: "It will have no respect for Jennifer Lopez, because she is going through a period right now when nobody is satisfied with anything she does ... Give Lopez your permission to be good again; she is the same actress now as when we thought her so new and fine." In 2006, she reunited with Gregory Nava, the director of both Mi Familia and Selena, to star in the crime drama Bordertown as a journalist investigating female homicides in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The film was negatively reviewed and received a direct-to-video release. David D'Arcy of Screen Daily found Lopez "unconvincing" as a journalist. In 2007, she starred opposite her then-husband Marc Anthony in the music biopic El Cantante, which told the story of Puerto Rican salsa singer Héctor Lavoe and his wife Puchi. Lopez later expressed particular pride in her work in it and it is also the first movie she produced. Even though El Cantante did not perform well at the overall box office, it is still the twenty-eighth highest-grossing musical biopic of all time. The film received mixed reviews from film critics. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle considered it her "most mannered, least relaxed and least convincing performance to date". A.O. Scott of The New York Times praised Lopez's performance, noting that it had "a lot of fight" with "a hard, skeptical edge" that made Puchi "a more interesting and plausible character than her husband". Lopez received a Premios Juventud nomination for Best Actress for her performance.
Lopez in 2008
Lopez released two studio albums in 2007. Her fifth album, Como Ama una Mujer, was her first to be recorded entirely in Spanish. Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly acknowledged that the album offered "fairly persuasive proof" that Lopez can sing, but was unimpressed by the "flaccid torch songs." It reached number 10 on the Billboard 200; the lead single "Qué Hiciste" reached number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 while the second single "Me Haces Falta" failed to chart. Lopez's sixth studio album Brave, released later that year, was her lowest-charting album worldwide. Jonathan Bernstein of Entertainment Weekly was disappointed that Lopez had returned to "listless vocals" for her "back-to-the-dance-floor album." The album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 and produced two singles, "Do It Well" and "Hold It Don't Drop It". The first peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the latter failed to chart. While pregnant with twins, Lopez embarked upon her first ever concert tour, a show co-headlined by Anthony, in September 2007. She also created, produced and was featured in the MTV show DanceLife.
After giving birth to twins in February 2008, Lopez took a career break. Her restaurant Madre's closed permanently, as did her two fashion lines. After rehiring former manager Medina, Lopez released two songs in late 2009, "Louboutins" and "Fresh Out of the Oven". The songs were intended for her seventh studio album but failed to make an appearance on the Billboard charts, leading to her departure from Sony Music and Epic Records. Lopez's first theatrical role in three years was in the romantic comedy The Back-up Plan (2010). Manohla Dargis of The New York Times was unimpressed by the movie and described Lopez as "an appealing screen presence with a disappointing big-screen track record. That's probably not all her fault: romantic roles for women often are the provenance of the bland or the blonde."
American Idol and Vegas residency (2011–2018)
A "big turning point" in Lopez's career came in 2011, when she joined the judging panel of the singing competition series American Idol. She accepted the job at a time when she was "not getting offered a whole bunch of movies" and the show returned her to prominence. Hannah Elliot of Forbes described it as "a remarkable comeback": "Idol humanized her. Viewers who knew only an attention-grabbing siren met a hardworking, self-made, empathetic single mother, who got emotional when contestants did well and when they failed." She returned as a judge for the eleventh season, earning a reported $20 million, and again for the thirteenth season, earning a reported $17.5 million. She became a brand ambassador for L'Oréal,Venus and Fiat, and launched the Jennifer Lopez Collection, a clothing and homeware line with Tommy Hilfiger for Kohl's.
After signing a new recording contract with Island Records, Lopez's seventh studio album, Love?, was released in early 2011. While the album itself was a moderate commercial success, the single "On the Floor" was one of the year's most successful songs. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her highest-charting single as a lead artist since "All I Have". Lopez's greatest hits album, Dance Again... the Hits, was released in mid-2012 to fulfil her contractual obligations with her former label Epic Records. Lopez, who was divorcing Anthony and navigating the "breakup of a family", felt as if the album's sole single, "Dance Again", had come to her at the "perfect moment". "Dance Again" reached number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lopez launched the Dance Again World Tour, her first headlining concert tour, in mid-2012. It grossed over $1 million per show. Also that year, she launched Teeology, a luxury T-shirt brand.
2015 saw the release of The Boy Next Door, an erotic thriller that Lopez both co-produced and starred in as a high school teacher who becomes involved with a student, which eventually leads to his dangerous obsession with her. The film received negative reviews from critics. Despite this, it became her most successful opening at the box office for a live action film since Monster-in-Law. Lopez had a voice role in the animated feature Home and contributed the single "Feel the Light" to the film's official soundtrack. Lopez also starred in the independent drama film Lila & Eve, alongside Viola Davis.
Lopez was in a nearly decade-long relationship with David Cruz, her high school boyfriend, until the mid-1990s. She would later say of Cruz, "You get lucky, you have a first love like that." She was married to Cuban waiter Ojani Noa from February 1997 to January 1998. In subsequent court cases, Noa was prevented from publishing a book about their marriage and from using private honeymoon footage of Lopez in a documentary. Lopez was in an on–off relationship with record producer and rapper Sean Combs (then known as "Puff Daddy") from 1999 to early 2001. On the night of December 27, 1999, Lopez and Combs were arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property, after leaving the scene of a shooting at a Times Square nightclub. Charges against Lopez were dropped within an hour while Combs was acquitted of all charges at trial in early 2001. They broke up shortly thereafter. Lopez later said that, while she had "cared very much" about Combs, their "crazy, tumultuous" relationship "was always something I knew would end." She was married to Cris Judd, her former backup dancer, from September 2001 to June 2002.
After divorcing Judd, Lopez was in a relationship with actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck from mid-2002 to early 2004. Although they had crossed paths several times before (most notably at the 70th Academy Awards and at the premiere of Armageddon, both in 1998), the first major meeting was on the set of Gigli (2003) in December 2001. They later worked together on the music video for "Jenny from the Block" and the film Jersey Girl (2004). Her album This Is Me... Then was dedicated to and inspired by Affleck. Their relationship was extensively publicized. Tabloids referred to the couple as "Bennifer", a portmanteau Vanity Fair described as "the first of that sort of tabloid branding". They became engaged in November 2002, but their planned wedding on September 14, 2003, was postponed with four days' notice because of "excessive media attention". They ended their engagement in January 2004. Years later, Lopez said Affleck's discomfort with media scrutiny was one reason for their split and described it as her "first real heartbreak": "I think different time, different thing, who knows what could've happened, but there was a genuine love there."
Lopez and Anthony, 2006
Lopez was married to singer Marc Anthony from June 2004 to June 2014; they had previously worked together and dated for a few months in the late 1990s. Their wedding took place five months after the end of her relationship with Affleck; she later described it as "a Band-Aid on the cut" and recalled a "rocky start" to the marriage. During their marriage, they collaborated on music and performed together, as well as co-starring in El Cantante (2006). Lopez gave birth to fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, on Long Island in February 2008.People paid a reported US$6 million for the first photographs of the twins, making them the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken at the time. In 2009, Anthony and Lopez purchased a stake in the Miami Dolphins. The couple announced their separation in July 2011. Anthony filed for divorce in April 2012 and it was finalized in June 2014. Lopez retained primary physical custody of the two children. Lopez occasionally performs with her daughter.
Lopez had an on-off relationship with her former backup dancer Casper Smart from October 2011 to August 2016. She dated New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez from February 2017 to early 2021. They became engaged in March 2019 but postponed their wedding twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to tabloid speculation about the state of their relationship, they released a statement in March 2021, saying they were "working through some things". They announced the end of their relationship in April 2021.
In April 2021, Lopez and Affleck were reported to be dating again, with Lopez publicly confirming their rekindled relationship that July. In the years after their breakup, they had remained in contact and spoken highly of each other in the press. Both Affleck and Lopez have spoken of the gift of a second chance with each other since reuniting. On April 8, 2022, Lopez announced their second engagement, 20 years after the first proposal. They were married in Las Vegas on July 16, 2022.
Since early in her life, she has been passionate about supporting children; For example, her album Rebirth is dedicated to Paige Peterson, an eleven-year-old cancer patient whom Lopez befriended during visits to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Peterson died in November 2004. Lopez noting that, "I don't like to do my charity work in public. That's not what you do it for." Lopez had wanted to create a charitable foundation for years, but it wasn't until 2009 that she launched the Lopez Family Foundation (originally known as the Maribel Foundation) alongside her sister, Lynda. The nonprofit organization seeks to increase the availability of healthcare for underprivileged women and children, offering a telemedicine program supported by a partnership with the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The foundation has led to the expansion of medical facilities in Panama and Puerto Rico, and created the Center for a Healthy Childhood at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
In December 2012, Lopez held a charity drive that would affect her three favorite charities: the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles as well as the American Red Cross, mainly benefiting victims of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of her hometown, New York City. In May 2015, she became the first national celebrity spokesperson for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the BC Children's Hospital Foundation (BCCHF), appearing in a campaign entitled "Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are". That September, Lopez was announced as the first Global Advocate for Girls and Women at the United Nations Foundation. This role sees her mobilizing action to address challenges faced by girls and women around the world, including maternal health care programs, education and violence against women. In September 2017, following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, Lopez announced that she would be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas residency to humanitarian aid for Puerto Rico. Along with ex-husband Marc Anthony, she launched a humanitarian relief campaign entitled Somos Una Voz (English: We Are One Voice), an effort supported by various celebrities to rush supplies to areas affected by Hurricane Maria. Lopez and Anthony presented a subsequent concert and telethon for disaster relief, "One Voice: Somos Live!", which raised over $35 million. She was also among various artists featured on Lin-Manuel Miranda's charity single "Almost Like Praying" which benefits Puerto Rico.
As of 2021, continues to regularly donate and support charities. In September 2021, she launched a new partnership called Limitless Labs that will support and empower Latina entrepreneurs and business owners. In June 2022, Lopez partnered with Nonprofit Grameen America to financially empower women-led Latina Businesses: "In a major philanthropic effort for Lopez, she’ll join the organization as a national ambassador, and in concert with her own Limitless Labs, which aims to support Latina-owned small businesses, she and Grameen America’s detailed their collective goal: to "empower Latina entrepreneurs across 50 U.S. cities with $14 billion in business capital and 6 million hours of financial education and training by 2030."
Lopez has performed at charity concerts throughout her career. In 2022, Lopez headlined the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's star-studded 6th Annual Blue Diamond Gala. The event raised a record-breaking $3.6 million to support LADF in their mission to improve education, health care, homelessness, and social justice for all Angelenos.
Lopez cited Madonna as her "first big musical influence"
Lopez has cited Madonna as her "first big musical influence", explaining "It was all about Madonna for me. She inspired me to want to sing, to dance, to work hard." Other "big influences in [her] life" include Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, James Brown, and Michael Jackson. Growing up, she was influenced by Latin music styles ranging from salsa to bachata, and artists including Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. It was the 1979 hip hop song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang that she said changed her life. She was also "hugely inspired in her youth" by Rita Moreno's performance in the 1961 musical film West Side Story, noting that she "was Puerto Rican" like herself at a time when that was rare in Hollywood. Speaking of musicals being an essential influence, she has said that, "musicals were a part of the tapestry of my childhood," and crediting her mom, saying: "My mom was also the mom who got me into musicals and introduced me to all kinds of music. I am an entertainer because of my mom." Another major influence on Lopez is Barbra Streisand, stating that, "watching her career over the years, watching her sing and act and direct, was very inspiring to me." Lopez has cited Janet Jackson as a major inspiration for her own dance and videos, stating that she "probably started dancing" because of Jackson's music video for "The Pleasure Principle". She has said that she also looks to the careers of Cher and Diana Ross, and has been influenced by younger artists such as Lady Gaga.
According to author Ed Morales in The Latin Beat: The Rhythms And Roots Of Latin Music From Bossa Nova To Salsa And Beyond (2003), Lopez's music explores the "romantic innocence" of Latin music, while strongly identifying with hip hop. Her debut album On the 6 fuses the influence of Latin music with R&B and hip hop, which Lopez described as Latin soul. To the contrary, Morales described it as "state-of-the-art dance pop". Dee Lockett, writing for the Chicago Tribune, stated that songs such as "Waiting for Tonight" made Lopez "arguably the leading artist in the dance-pop movement at the time". While primarily sung in English, she speaks in Spanish and asserts her Latin heritage throughout the album, which is apparent in the song "Let's Get Loud". She has also recorded bilingual songs, including the Latin pop song "Cariño", for her second album J.Lo. A departure from her previous albums, This Is Me... Then blends 1970s soul with "streetwise" hip hop.
Described as autobiographical, much of Lopez's music has centered around the "ups and downs" of love. The lyrical content of This Is Me... Then is largely focused on her relationship with Ben Affleck, with the song "Dear Ben" being described as the album's "glowing centerpiece". The two Ben inspired songs "I'm Glad" and "Baby I Love U!" becoming even more meaningful to the Bennifer story with time. Her first full-length Spanish-language album, Como Ama una Mujer features introspective lyrics about romance, heartache and self-loathing. When explaining her seventh studio album Love?, Lopez stated: "There's still so much to learn and that's why the question mark." Other recurrent themes in Lopez's music have included her upbringing in the Bronx and women's empowerment.
Some critics have considered Lopez's voice to be limited, and overshadowed by the production of her music, while remaining "radio-friendly".Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone remarked: "Instead of strained vocal pyrotechnics, Lopez sticks to the understated R&B murmur of a round-the-way superstar who doesn't need to belt because she knows you're already paying attention ... She makes a little va-va and a whole lot of voom go a long way." Meanwhile, AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine called her voice "slight" and wrote: "Lopez was never, ever about singing; she was about style".Entertainment Weekly criticized her vocal performance for lacking the trademark "husky-voiced voluptuousness" she has in her films.J. D. Considine of The Baltimore Sun regards Lopez as having a "breathy" stylistic range, but lacking personality.
Considered one of dance's "greatest success stories",Refinery29 ranked Lopez at number two on "11 Of Pop's Most Iconic Dancers" in 2015. Lopez felt an emotional connection to dance since her youth, when she specialized in ballet, jazz and flamenco. Her career commenced on the variety television sketch comedy series In Living Color, where she was a part of an ethnically diverse dance group known as the Fly Girls. Since beginning her music career, Lopez has become known for her body-emphasizing music videos, which often include dance routines.CNN's Holly Thomas noted that "Lopez's years of professional dance experience gave her a captivating, commanding presence in her videos." Some of these videos have been the subject of controversy, including "Jenny from the Block", "Dance Again" and "Booty". Her provocatively choreographed music video for "If You Had My Love" allowed Lopez to become a dominant figure on MTV networks worldwide. Madeline Roth of MTV wrote: "Her diverse videography encompasses some of the most memorable visuals of the 21st century", with Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos observing that her "dancing skills and ability to toy with her own celebrity have made her videos an important part of the new millennium's pop canon".
On stage, Lopez is recognized for her showmanship and sex appeal, and often includes costumes such as bodysuits as part of her performance. Author Priscilla Peña Ovalle stated in Dance and the Hollywood Latina: Race, Sex and Stardom (2011) that Lopez was one of the Latin stars who "used dance to gain agency as working performers with mainstream careers, yet many of their roles paradoxically racialized and sexualized their bodies". Troy Patterson of Entertainment Weekly also observed that she used her body for emphasis on stage, "She turned herself out as the fly girl hyperversion of postfeminist power, flaunting her control by toying with the threat of excess. In consequence, her star went supernova." Her signature movements include "clock-wise pivoting with salsa hip circles and sequential torso undulations". While being noted to lip sync in the early stages of career, Lopez's Dance Again World Tour was praised for showcasing live vocals and choreography synchronously. In a review of her Las Vegas residency All I Have, Los Angeles Times writer Nolan Feeney remarked that her dancing is "undoubtedly the centerpiece of the show".
Lopez's provocative stage performances have also drawn scrutiny at times. In May 2013, her performance on the finale of the television series Britain's Got Talent was deemed inappropriate for family-friendly television, and drew viewer complaints to Ofcom. Following her controversial performance at the musical festival Mawazine in 2015, Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane called it "indecent" and "disgraceful", while an education group claimed that she "disturbed public order and tarnished women's honor and respect".
Writing of Lopez's image, Andrew Barker of Variety observed: "Despite a carefully cultivated image as an imperious pop empress in ludicrously expensive outfits, her signature hits bear the titles 'I'm Real' and 'Jenny From the Block'. She managed the perilous transition from actress to music star without ever seeming to pick either as a primary gig. She established herself as an oft-provocative sex symbol while her demeanor made it abundantly clear that she's not asking you to come hither." In 2002, Lynette Holloway of The New York Times described Lopez as overexposed. She wrote: "Forgive yourself if you are seeing Jennifer Lopez in your sleep. She is everywhere." Holloway noted her image to be "a dash of ghetto fabulousness" and "middle-class respectability" for mass appeal.Entertainment Weekly observed a change in her public profile upon joining American Idol in 2011, writing: "Gone was her old cut-a-bitch swagger; J. Lo 2.0 is an all-embracing, Oprahfied earth madre." Television presenter Ray Martin describes her as a "showbiz phenomenon".
Lopez is widely celebrated for her callipygian figure. She has been credited with influencing a change in mainstream female body image. In Latin Sensations (2001), Herón Marquez wrote: "Because she wasn't rail thin, Lopez had broken the mold and allowed millions of women to feel good about their bodies. Suddenly, it was okay for women to have hips, curves, and a big backside."Vanity Fair described her buttocks as "in and of themselves, a cultural icon".Details magazine named Lopez the "Sexiest Woman of the Year" in 1998, and she topped FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" list twice. In 2011, she was named "The Most Beautiful Woman" by People. The following year, VH1 ranked her the fourth on their list of "100 Sexiest Artists", while Vibe magazine named her the most "lustable" celebrity of the past twenty years. In 2014, Lopez stated, "There's this funny notion in America that you can't be a mom and be sexy (...) It's the craziest thing I've ever heard... The truth is that women can be sexy until the day they die." In Jennifer Lopez: Halftime (2022) she further said: "I think, sometimes, as women, we think: 'if I’m too sexy I won’t be taken seriously'; we’re supposed to be celebrating women in every sense of who they are – smart, strong, sensual. You cannot just cancel out different parts of who you are. They can all coexist and be very authentic and real."
Lopez has been a tabloid fixture and has admitted to having a "less-than-perfect" public image. The media has drawn comparisons between Lopez and actress Elizabeth Taylor, due to her numerous failed relationships, and Lopez has been dubbed a "modern-day Liz Taylor" by the media. Lynn Hirschberg of W compared her glamorous public persona to that of Taylor. Her style was described by Billboard's Lauren Savage as "scantily clad". Lopez herself has said that she "look to the women who epitomize old Hollywood glamour, like Rita Hayworth," Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe for inspiration to her own style, but because she "grew up in the Bronx," her style has "a more urban, hip-hop influence" as well. Her sense of style continues to be a big part of her public image.
She has received a bad reputation as being a demanding "diva", something which she denies: "I've always been fascinated by how much more well-behaved we have to be than men." Adding that, "I got a moniker of being 'the diva,' which I never felt I deserved — which I don't deserve — because I've always been a hard worker, on time, doing what I'm supposed to do, and getting that label because you reach a certain amount of success." In 2003, The Observer remarked that Lopez was "the woman immortalised in a million headlines as 'Hollywood's most demanding diva' ... Lopez must wonder what heinous crime she has committed to become the most vilified woman in modern popular culture." Actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck has observed the reason for her reputation as having something to do with racism and sexism: "People were so fucking mean about her, sexist, racist, ugly vicious shit was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying some of the things you said."
Lopez is regarded as the most influential Latin performer in North America, credited with breaking ethnic barriers in the entertainment industry. In 1999, Lopez said the "responsibility" of being a role model for the Latin community initially "kind of scared me because you don't want to let anybody down and you don't want to do anything wrong ... I've always wanted to be the best that I can be and I think that's more what they look to, y'know, 'She's up there. She's doing it. She's from the same place we are." In 1999, The Record newspaper observed that she was responsible for the introduction of a Latina presence in the film industry, which was a "whites-only preserve" for much of its history. Described as a "multidimensional artist who had turned into a financial powerhouse", Lopez became the highest-paid actress of Hispanic descent in history.Miriam Jiménez Román stated in The Afro-Latin Reader: History and Culture in the United States (2009) that "[she] was able to traverse the difficult racial boundaries". In 2012, business magazine Forbes suggested that Lopez "may be the most powerful entertainer on the planet", and named her "the world's most powerful Latino celebrity".
Upon launching her music career in the late 1990s, Lopez contributed to the "Latin explosion" occurring in entertainment at the time. Writing for The Recording Academy, Brian Haack described her as the "breakout female star" of the Latin pop movement in American music. She was featured on the cover of the first issue of Latina magazine in 1996, with editor Galina Espinoza stating in 2011 that there is "no recounting of modern Latina history without Jennifer". Around the time her career began to burgeon, the emphasis on Lopez's curvaceous figure grew; scholar Sean Redmond wrote that this was a sign of her role and social power in the cultural changes occurring in the United States. In August 2005, Time listed Lopez as one of the most influential Hispanics in America, remarking: "Why? Because over a decade ago, she was an anonymous background dancer on the second-rated sketch-comedy show. Today she's known by two syllables." In February 2007, People en Español named her the most influential Hispanic entertainer. In 2014, scientists named a species of aquatic mite found in Puerto Rico, Litarachna lopezae, after Lopez.
^ abCartlidge, Cherese (2012). Jennifer Lopez. Lucent Books. p. 13. ISBN978-1420507553. Jennifer Lynn Lopez's parents, David and Guadalupe, were both born in Ponce, the second-largest city in Puerto Rico.