From Watching Legends To Becoming A Legend Herself: Jennifer Lopez Receives The MTV Video Vanguard Award

Jennifer López’s accomplishments in the entertainment industry can be traced back twenty years ago when she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her starring role in Selena. A year later, her music career took off, and she was nominated as Best New Artist at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). Now, after twenty years in film and music, JLo, as she is also known, will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2018 VMAs ceremony: a recognition given to legends such as David Bowie, The Beatles, Madonna, and Michael Jackson himself.

In an interview with Music Choice, Jennifer López confessed that she shed a tear after learning that she was getting the award. “I grew up in the era of MTV and that’s when I started doing music. I watched Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Madonna doing videos and that was always my dream,” she said. Now, after seeing all those legends, she has become one herself.

JLo’s contribution to the entertainment industry has to do with her relevance and importance in matters of representation. Back in the nineties, latinxs in media were not easily seen since there was a lack of latinx artists in film and music. In addition, when there was representation, it was stereotypical characters who fit a social construct with which audiences could feel comfortable. But Jennifer López did something new, going beyond the rhythms that were mostly considered for latinxs and embracing a more “R&B meets pop” style.

Her public persona is of great importance as well. She’s a fashion icon who proved that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes. Back in the nineties, the beauty standard for women was very skinny. Supermodels sold this idea of “the skinnier, the prettier” and the idea of curves was diminished and even demonized. So, López was a breath of fresh air because she allowed her body to be as it is, embracing her curves and inspiring girls and women of all sizes to feel more comfortable in their own bodies.

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When it comes to film, she has been one of the highest-grossing Latinas of the past decade, and now she’ll be the first Latinx artist to receive this award. After ups and downs throughout her career, she will be recognized for her contributions to pop culture and opening the door for other Latin American singers, like Shakira, and actors, like Sofía Vergara.

The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award has been given to iconic musicians since 1984: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and The Beastie Boys have all been recognized for their contributions to music. So, it’s very thrilling to see that in this decade the award has been given mostly to women: Pink, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and now Jennifer López. We could not be happier to see that women from different cultural backgrounds have been celebrated for their impact and relevance in pop culture, and we must also recognize that MTV has always been eager to celebrate America’s cultural diversity. Way to go, Jenny!


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