Without a doubt, one of the most-talked about moments from the 2019 Grammys was Jennifer Lopez’s tribute to the era of Motown. Alongside Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, J.Lo performed a medley of hits from the label’s heyday at the Staples Center. But for anyone who’d been following along online over the last week, the tribute was indisputably controversial; Lopez came under fire after she was announced as the headliner for the tribute a few days earlier. On social media, many folks noted that the choice wasn’t a great stylistic match for J.Lo, and others wondered why contemporary black singers, who built their careers on the legacy of Motown, hadn’t been chosen instead, especially during Black History Month.
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 thing about music is that it inspires all. Any type of music can inspire any type of artist,” Lopez told Entertainment Tonight. “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.”
But considering the barriers that black artists from the Motown era faced to get recognition, the choice seems especially thoughtless. J.Lo had previously performed an homage to Celia Cruz, another black performer, at the American Music Awards in 2013; at that time, many felt she should have passed the opportunity on to a black Latina.
At least one good thing came out of the whole ordeal: a stream of hilarious tweets proposing fake, equally ill-fitting tributes at future Grammys ceremonies. From Eminem honoring gospel music to rap duo City Girls performing a Selena tribute, here were some of our favorite suggestions.