Not to sound 103 years old, but kids these days have it easy. Not because they’re born with an iPad in their hands and know what Fortnite is, but, because of their pop stars. The voices blasting over the radios — or iPhones or, whatever — come from Latinx ladies like Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, and Selena Gomez or proudly biracial women like Halsey. While the pop scene still isn’t as inclusive as it could be, it’s certainly easier for little girls of color to see themselves in the music they’re singing along to.
In the 1990s, that wasn’t the case for Latinx kids. Then, at the tail end of the decade, we got Jennifer Lopez. The woman who would one day be J-to-the-L-O added some much-needed diversity to a music scene dominated by the likes of Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, and even Christina Aguilera, a singer who identifies as Latinx but easily presents as a white woman. J.Lo vocally repped her boricua heritage and Bronx roots while dancing circles around her pop peers (it's integral to remember Lopez was pure, hot 100 pop — not “urban,” “hip-hop,” “R&B,” or any of the other genres oftentimes used to keep musicians of color away from mainstream airwaves).
And, she was a consummate show(wo)man.
It’s impossible to shake certain moments from her many, many music videos. That’s why that “R-U-L-E” revelation from her “I’m Real (Remix)” music video with Ja Rule melted brains across the internet in 2016; a full 15 years after that early aughts banger dropped. That’s also why Lopez will take home the 2018 VMA Video Vanguard Award on Monday, August 20, the highest honor of MTV’s Video Music Awards.
Since this decade began, the aforementioned Spears took home that much-coveted golden moon person, as did Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, and Pink. While the prolific and hardworking Lopez has put out consistent work to match those performers — and sometimes rival it — parts of the internet still rioted over Lopez’s upcoming award.
Well, considering the just-under two decades of tireless creativity Jennifer Lopez and her team have poured into the performer's videos, those people are wrong. If you don’t believe that, let’s take a walk down Jennifer Lopez music video lane. After all, that’s what the Vanguard Award is all about: music video excellence.
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