Jennifer Lopez covers the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar. And I like the cover and here’s what Marilyn Denis pointed out to me this morning – you can see the lines on her neck. They didn’t brush them out. Why should they? The lines don’t look bad. She looks amazing. The lines are realistic. I’m not saying nothing has been brushed. But I appreciate that nobody’s trying to make a 48 year old woman look like she has a 20 year old neck.
Of course Alex Rodriguez comes up. They’re in love. She’s in love. They’re not getting married…yet. He leaves notes and flowers for her all around the house and signs them “Macho 13”. She shouts him out on stage when she’s performing. It’s a LOT. But what else was it going to be? She’s JLO. She loves love. She says she’s found love with someone who’s at the same place in his life. Enough about him. There are other things to discuss.
Like the fact that she’s not underappreciated for how successful she is as a producer. How she’s developing two new film projects to be directed by women. Her producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, talks about this in the piece. That for too long, they were hesitant to take credit for the work they were doing and showing and that they’re done with not flashing it anymore, done with not giving themselves the credit and demanding the credit. After all, here’s a woman of colour who, at the beginning of her career, was told by a director, someone who was influencing her career, that he wanted her to take off her top and show her breasts. She ended up not doing it. But the point is that almost everyone in the business – and in so many businesses – has had to go through some degree of bullsh-t like this and we’ve been hearing, reading, those memories come to the surface now, as women relate to and share with each other, as women push to end the harassment and, even if it’s not harassment, the obstruction – both personally and professionally.
But a name kept coming to mind when I was reading this article: Benny Medina. And here’s why I’m conflicted. Because, yes, JLO is a hustler. And now she’s a boss. Still hustling, hustling opportunities now for more people of colour, more women of colour. She has the power to do it. She is putting her capital to use. So why should she have to own what Benny allegedly did? (He’s denied the allegations). I don’t want to undermine her accomplishments and somehow make it seem like she should be to blame, or is partly to blame and this is the frustration and the complication and the difficulty of these conversations. Is it fair to be dragging him into the conversation when it would reduce her shine?
Or is this a better question?
Given JLO’s platform, what she’s achieved, what she has planned, from a business perspective, from a brand perspective, should she continue to be managed by him? Does she need to be managed by him? Or is that an unfair question to ask too?
No one is asking the question here in Harper’s Bazaar. Benny doesn’t come up. The allegations against Benny were made public in November. Since then, there hasn’t been much follow-up. I’ve not seen him show up much, if at all, on JLO’s social media, and/or in any media coverage of her in the last few months. I just did a scan of both JLO and ARod’s Instagrams. Here’s JLO with Benny on ARod’s Insta on September 6:
He hasn’t turned up since. Maybe this is just a coincidence. But it’s also possible that she knows it’s not a good look. And that Benny’s being kept behind the curtain for now. Until it passes? Or, at some point, does he get taken off the stage completely?
Click here to read the full Harper’s Bazaar article on Jennifer Lopez and to see more photos.