“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.
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.”
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.”