Jennifer Lopez is Being Called Out For Not Being Latina Enough – And Shakira is Being Dragged Into It

Jennifer Lopez is Being Called Out For Not Being Latina Enough – And Shakira is Being Dragged Into It belatina latine
Photo credit: Instagram @shakira

“With record-setting, boundary-breaking careers as an actor, dancer, and GRAMMY-nominated singer, Jennifer Lopez is arguably the most influential Latin entertainer of all time,” the GRAMMYs.com website reads. This is part of the reason why many social media users are outraged. Jennifer Lopez? They are questioning if she is even a real Latina. Wasn’t she born in the United States? Doesn’t Ben Affleck know the Spanish language better than her? Sheesh. The social media debate is real, y’all.

Why are people outraged about the Recording Academy’s Hispanic Heritage Month tribute to Jennifer Lopez?

In case you missed it, the GRAMMYs.com website posted an article commemorating the Bronx-born A-list celebrity during their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. They note: “Over the course of her lengthy and varied career, Lopez has delivered a multi-faceted, ever-adapting skill set while remaining true to her roots. Her strong sense of self has brought her to the world’s largest stages, including a co-headlining performance at the 2020 Super Bowl LIV halftime show with Shakira.” They state facts, so why are people upset?

Some social media users are claiming that there are other Latina artists better suited for the title of “most influential Latin entertainer of all time.” One of the artists that social media users heavily nominated for this title is the Colombian-born, multifaceted artist Shakira

Many social media users have expressed their opinions on the Recording Academy’s official Instagram. An Instagram user, merk2900, wrote: “@jlo is not Latina, she doesn’t even speak Spanish well, the one they should really recognize is @shakira, she did come from Latin America.” If that’s the case, then we would have to start taking away the “Latina” cards from Latina powerhouses like Christina Aguilera, and Becky G who both have broken Spanish.

Others point out that the Recording Academy should do more for the “Let’s Get Loud” singer – if she’s so influential, why hasn’t she won a GRAMMY award? “Imagine crowning @jlo the greatest Latin/Hispanic entertainer of all-time and not having awarded her 1 award over a career spanning over 20+ years in the music industry with over 80 million+ records sold prior to the streaming era,” an Instagram user, _onthe6_, wrote. “We did not need your validation or recognition because of #hispanicheritagemonth because we already knew her impact and success. You can keep your tribute.”

Why are people still pitting Latinas against each other?

In hindsight, this brings up a bigger issue. Why are people bashing Latinas with other Latina names in their mouths? Why do people continue putting one woman down by mentioning another? It’s possible that other Latinas are more influential than Lopez, pero why hate on Lopez at the same time? And why bring up Shakira’s name – who’s notably also going through a hard time – to the drama? 

Why is it so hard to recognize and accept a Latina’s tribute without the need of criticizing their trajectory with the work of others?

Based on the social media comments, they also bring up another issue: what’s Latina enough for people? Should Latines now have to be born in Latin American countries to be up for any type of Latin award or tribute in the U.S.? Do we have to speak perfect Spanish to be able to have a say on anything Latine related? The short answer is no. Knowing how to speak or write Spanish fluently is not a determining factor in how “Latina” someone is. 

The discussion is ongoing and problematic. 

It’s not that we disagree or agree with Lopez’s new tribute – that’s not the problem here. The problem is how people are downgrading proud Latina talent and simultaneously dismissing her hard work based solely on how “Latina” she is.

Yes, we love Shakira, but that doesn’t mean Lopez deserves the backlash either.