“You can’t tell people what they can and can’t do — what they should sing or not sing,” Lopez told “Entertainment Tonight” in a Twitter clip, below.
Lopez, who had drawn criticism even before the awards show for being tabbed to celebrate a black record label during Black History Month, received additional online disapproval for her medley performance. She sang classics like “Do You Love Me” while donning several outfits in an act with Smokey Robinson and others.
People on Twitter weren’t having it. Jared Sawyer Jr., a preacher and author, was particularly critical.
J. Lo better not salsa her way to the cookout because she is uninvited for that terrible performance. 😂 How do you do a Motown tribute without an ALL BLACK cast of artists?! And it’s Black History Month too. 🤦🏾♂️#GRAMMYs #Grammy2019— Jared Sawyer Jr. (@JaredSawyerJr) February 11, 2019
People who could've done the Motown tribute:— Jared Sawyer Jr. (@JaredSawyerJr) February 11, 2019
Or practically anyone else #GRAMMYs
Sorry everyone, but I agree. She’s a great performer, but they should have chosen someone else. No doubt Latinos would be upset if they had a black soul singer doing a tribute to Latin music.— VMisco (@misco_v) February 11, 2019
Jennifer Lopez is doing the Motown tribute and when Janelle Monáe is right there and I just don’t understand the creative decision pic.twitter.com/qevBc83ib4— 𝕚 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕞𝕪 𝕠𝕨𝕟 𝕙𝕒𝕚𝕣 𝕞𝕒𝕔𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕖 (@omyj0sh) February 11, 2019
@RecordingAcad I don’t understand how you could #whitewash #MotownTribute w/ @JLo. We like her well enough but not for this. There are literally 1000s of black musicians that would have performed. This is why #Motown was formed because black artist couldn’t get a chance.— Benti F. (@FrankiB) February 11, 2019
Jennifer Lopez did a Motown Tribute??? pic.twitter.com/N7DyURIh5i— Jamila 🇨🇴🌊🇩🇴 (@jamilita816) February 11, 2019
An emotional Lopez, who’s of Puerto Rican descent, noted afterward that Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who was in the audience, “was thrilled” to have her sing and was well aware of how much she’s been influenced by Motown songs.
“Any type of music can inspire any type of artist. ... You can’t tell people what to love,” she said. “You can’t tell people what they can and can’t do — what they should sing or not sing.”
"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." An emotional Jennifer Lopez responds to her critics backstage after her #GRAMMYs Motown tribute. pic.twitter.com/1dK3OEs9OH— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 11, 2019
The 78-year-old Robinson (“Tears of a Clown”) defended Lopez earlier, saying Motown songs were for any fan.
“I don’t think anyone who is intelligent is upset,” Robinson told Variety before the event. “I think anyone who is upset is stupid.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.