Jennifer Lopez covers the new issue of Adweek and has been given their Brand Visionary award. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would argue that JLo has built a mega-successful brand. What defines a successful brand? Well for starters, even before familiarity, identity is a critical factor. And we all know what the JLo brand is: she glows, she loves love, and she is one of the most versatile artists in the world – Jennifer Lopez sings, dances, acts, produces, and more.
It was about 20 years ago that mass pop culture was first introduced to a word that at the time was most closely associated with her: the “multihyphenate”, remember? Everyone is a multihyphenate now and, certainly, there were multihyphenates before JLo, it’s just that at the time, in the late 90s and early 2000s, she was the face attached to the term. Because she dared to do all those things, and 25 or so years later, she is still doing all those things. And she’s being celebrated for it now … which was not the case…then. Ha. You see what I did there?
Then? Well, back then there was skepticism laced with derision, which manifested itself in how her relationship with Ben Affleck was covered when they first got together. She was an ambitious, stunning, sexy Latinx woman dating the boy from Boston who conquered Hollywood with his Hollywood best friend. The narrative was that she was controlling, that she was trying to change him, that she was a usurper, a corruptor.
Now she’s an empire, on the cover of Adweek being recognised for all her deals, partnerships, and product lines, for her ubiquity, for her appeal across generations and demographics, and for her charitable endeavours, including Limitless Labs, the philanthropic branch of her business, in support of Latinx entrepreneurs.
Now it’s Ben Affleck being quoted in the article about her power:
“All I can tell you is that I have seen firsthand the difference representation makes because I have seen, over and over and over and over, women of color approach Jennifer and tell her what her example as a strong woman and a woman succeeding and demanding her fair share in the business world means to them. I am in awe of what Jennifer’s effect on the world is. At most, as an artist, I can make movies that move people. Jennifer has inspired a massive group of people to feel they have a seat at the table in this country. That is an effect few people throughout history have had, one I will never know and one I can only stand by and admire with respect.”
But while Ben’s comments about JLo are the ones making the most headlines, the quote that made me sit up was what she said about herself:
“I am the scarce asset.”
With or without Ben, she’s proved it – most importantly to herself. And that place feels elusive for a lot of people, in any industry. As JLo says:
“What we’ve been sold as artists is you’re a dime a dozen. The next girl will come along and there’s somebody that will be younger than you and better than you, and that’s not the truth. It’s like you’re disposable, and especially as women.”
It’s not just artists, it’s women, and people from marginalised communities, who are sold this lie. Speaking personally, I have been made to feel like if I don’t do something, if don’t accept an opportunity that I may not be comfortable taking, if I won’t agree to be underpaid or not paid or uncredited, if I push back on being voluntold to do thing that someone already voluntold me to do, it’s been implied that I’ll be replaceable. And I’m sure some of you, probably many of you, reading this have been in the same position. This is how they control you. This is how they get you to undervalue yourself.
I know JLo isn’t exactly relatable, given what she’s accumulated. But that doesn’t mean that her declaration about being the “scarce asset” isn’t worth consideration. How do we get to a place where we can say and believe that we are the “scarce asset”, in the sense that we DO have something to offer that’s unique to us, that we are not disposable? I’m sorry I don’t have the answer to this. But I spend a lot of time thinking about how I might get closer to it.
Click here to read the full interview with JLo at Adweek.
As for Ben – this is indeed the first time he’s gone on record to talk about her since they got back together, at least officially. Because now I’m reminded of when JLo covered InStyle’s May 2021 issue (the interview would have happened months before the issue was released). At the time she was still engaged to Alex Rodriguez but, curiously, none of his quotes made it into the piece…but Ben’s did, obviously with her blessing. I joked at the time that Ben was throwing up a Bat Signal – and it clearly worked.
Now he’s talking to another magazine about her after their renewed summer of love – and it’s not all the way one-sided. She threw him a bone this week on Instagram, did you see?
LOL, she doesn’t show his photo but she does mention him by name, although he does come second to Matt. Colloquially that’s just how we all refer to them, non? “Matt and Ben”, even JLo knows them as “Matt and Ben”.