Jennifer Lopez was the recipient of MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award last. She became the first Latin woman to receive the award. She accepted it with such breaming pride, emotional sincerity, genuine gratitude and love for her family and her hype man that I almost don’t have anything to snark about.
I still stand firm in my belief that Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott is the rightful recipient of this award and I will not rest until the respect she deserves is put on her name, DAMN IT. But Jennifer Lopez was not a bad choice. As I wrote when this was announced, JLo does have some iconic music videos and her videography as a whole is memorable. JLo hustles HARD and JLo loves HARD. These are two of her most defining characteristics. Watching her perform her greatest hits with the images of videos past flashing behind her, complete with all the hustle and past loves of her 20 year career, made it hard to hate on what she was doing on that stage.
I would have chosen a different set list (one bar of “Waiting for Tonight,” really?) with less of her later EDM hits but as soon as she hit “Love Don’t Cost A Thing” into “I’m Glad” into “Get Right,” I was on my feet basically doing a ‘Tiffany Haddish watches JLo’ impression from my living room. By the time she put on her parka for “All I Have,” I was LIVING. Also, I appreciate that Jennifer sang live the whole way through. She may not have the best vocals, bless her heart, but she sounded better than I expected her to. And this goes without saying but she looked RIDICULOUS. Whew. Money don’t crack, does it?
When Ja Rule came out, I was screaming. By the time they cutaway to ARod on his phone recording the performance and whistling like a true JLo stan, I was all the way in. MTV almost had me until they had SHAWN MENDES present her with the award on a side stage without a working microphone so no one knew what the f-ck was happening. You probably know how I feel about Shawn Mendes but this was not the right moment for him. In every wide shot of JLo holding her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, the highest honour of her career thus far, Shawn Mendes was there. WHY? Was literally everyone else busy?
This award meant a lot to JLo. You could see it in her teary eyes throughout her speech and hear it in her shaky voice. Every time she mentioned her twins, Max and Emme, the cutaway shots of Max on ARod’s lap got me. I started to get teary too. We’ve watched Jennifer Lopez PDA her way through ill-advised marriages to backup dancers, engagements to Ben Affleck and relationships with more backup dancers. Blame all the rom-coms I’ve been watching lately but I believe in J-Rod. Alex Rodriguez has only been there for the past two years of JLo’s 20 year career but he got one of the most substantial shout-outs. Of course he did. We know that Jennifer loves deep. She loves out loud. Here’s what she said about ARod in her Vanguard speech:
“Alex, you’re like my twin soul. We’re like mirror images of each other. My life is sweeter and better with you in it. You make me realize that every day, the sky is not the limit. The universe is infinite and so is what we can accomplish together with love, trust, and understanding. There is so much more to do, to experience, and there is no one I would rather do it with, baby.”
To many people, “we’re like mirror images of each other” may not be the most romantic compliment but for two celebrities and definite narcissists, this is actually very romantic. JLo and ARod are like mirror images of each other. This is why I think they work. This is why I believe they will work and that this is the love JLo has been waiting for. They are perfect for each other. As long as ARod continues to be her hype man and the guy in the crowd doing this:
Last night, JLo gave us everything she could and I wasn’t mad at it. She also reminded us why she’s so iconic. Sure, we like her music and her music videos but the fascination with Jennifer Lopez is that she has shared it all: work life and love life and those personal details have always been just as integral as the hit songs and choreography. We’ve been obsessed with knowing who JLo is obsessed with for 20 years. Is it fitting that for the highlight of her career, she finally found her “twin soul”? Are the rom-coms making me delusional? I just love JLo in love.