Jennifer Lopez: The Limitless Reina
Fly Girl. Jenny from the Block. J. Lo: over the years, we’ve referred to Jennifer Lopez by nicknames, like she was our homegirl from around the way. In turn, the multi-hyphenated superstar embodied those nicknames like a bendición from the masses. With her signature hoop earrings and Bronx, New York, past, Lopez has had fans’ support ever since she first caught our eye dancing on the variety television show In Living Color in 1991.
Lopez’s dream of becoming an entertainer began with dancing and singing lessons at the age of five. The Nuyorican worked hard and auditioned every chance she got until she landed the plum role that would change her life forever. Lopez became the first Latina to surpass the million-dollar paycheck portraying the late iconic singer Selena Quintanilla in the 1997 film Selena.
Two years later, Lopez officially added cantante to her already banging repertoire with the single “If You Had My Love.” The song perfectly paired longing with a bouncing beat. She followed it up with On the 6 (1999) and the hits kept coming. “Waiting for Tonight” and “Let’s Get Loud” became the nocturnal rallying call anyone could get behind. Eight studio albums and countless singles later, Lopez has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.
Her music combines romance and hip-hop with a splash of her Puerto Rican roots. “I’m Real” is the epitome of a Bronx attitude song, while “Get Right” forces everyone on to the dance floor. And we love when she goes full-on Spanish, like in the songs “Qué Hiciste” and “El Añillo.”
Lopez also shares the limelight with a who’s who of Latinx artists: Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Prince Royce, Pitbull, Big Pun, Fat Joe, Cardi B and Bad Bunny. Her empire keeps growing, whether it’s producing the television dance show competition World of Dance, becoming a New York Times bestseller with her 2014 memoir True Love, or co-starring and producing the upcoming film Hustlers.
“Being an artist doesn’t start because you’re 21 and it doesn’t end because you’re 51,” Lopez said in a 2010 Elle magazine profile. A true diva, Lopez has been counting down to her 50th birthday, which arrives today (July 24), the only way she knows how: going on tour. She marked the first tour date by singing her song “Limitless” in Madison Square Garden with her 11-year-old daughter Emme.
Whether she’s gracing a sold-out venue, singing at a more intimate Las Vegas residency or shaking it on a stylized music video, we will always be rooting for this unstoppable Latina powerhouse. Here’s to more singles, more singing and more flyness.
Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams (March 2019) and The Education of Margot Sanchez (February 2017), by Simon & Schuster.
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