meta-scriptRun The World: How Jennifer Lopez' Triple-Threat Superstardom Brought Latin Culture To Center Stage | GRAMMY.com
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Jennifer Lopez

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Run The World: How Jennifer Lopez' Triple-Threat Superstardom Brought Latin Culture To Center Stage

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.

GRAMMYs/Oct 7, 2022 - 04:13 pm

From her roots as "Jenny From the Block" to one of the highest-paid and influential Latinas in Hollywood history, Jennifer Lopez's stratospheric career has broken borders, elevated Latin music and culture, and cemented her as one of the largest-looming entertainment icons of all time.

While music fans were introduced to J. Lo via her 1999 debut album, On the 6, Lopez first gained prominence in the early '90s as a dancer on the sketch TV show "In Living Color." Lopez then established her acting career with starring roles in Selena, Anaconda and Out of Sight, becoming the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood before ever even branching out into a musical career.

As part of GRAMMY.com's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, this special episode of Run the World takes a look at Lopez's storied career. In every field of entertainment she stepped into, the dancer, actor and singer quickly established her position as a record-setting powerhouse paving the way both for female entertainers and for Latin entertainers to step into the business on the highest level. 

When she released On the 6, Lopez helped to usher in "Latin explosion" of the late '90s, introducing herself as a proud Nuyorican who used her story to elevate the experience of growing up Latina in the Bronx.

In 2001, she became the first woman to ever simultaneously have a No. 1 album and film — her second record, J.Lo, was released the same week as The Wedding Planner, which she starred in opposite Matthew McConaughey. Over the decade, Lopez continued to set records, pursue new ventures and evolve along with the entertainment industry, putting out her first entirely Spanish-language album — Como Ama una Mujer — in 2007. In 2011, she became a judge on "American Idol," and in 2016, she began a Las Vegas residency that grossed more than $100 million in ticket sales over the course of its three-year run. 

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 the 2020 Super Bowl LIV halftime show with Shakira. But, as she sings, Lopez is "still Jenny from the block."

"Everybody knows that I'm the Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx," she told Billboard in 2020. "I'm proud of that because there's no reason for that to ever hide. It's the secret to my success."

Press play on the video above to revisit more highlights from Lopez's mammoth career, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Run the World.

Run The World: How Pakistani Singer Arooj Aftab Reimagined Genre & Made GRAMMY History

Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya pose for a photo together at the 2024 Met Gala
Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya attend The 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

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2024 Met Gala Red Carpet: Music Icons & Celebrities Charm In The "Garden of Time" Including Bad Bunny, Zendaya, Doja Cat & More

From groundbreaking florals to silhouettes in black and piles of tulle, discover all of the spell-binding looks worn by music icons on the Met Gala red carpet in celebration of "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion."

GRAMMYs/May 6, 2024 - 10:52 pm

This year's Met Gala invited guests to step into the enchanting "Garden of Time" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where fashion meets fantasy. Celebrating the Met's exhibit "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," the first Monday in May saw stars transform the red carpet into a vibrant display of sartorial storytelling. The theme showcased a collection too delicate to wear but alive with the stories of fashion's past.

From co-chairs Zendaya and Bad Bunny to Tyla and Jennifer Lopez, see how music icons and film stars embodied this year's theme with spectacular flair. The gala not only highlighted the sensory and emotional richness of fashion but also set the stage for a night of memorable styles — groundbreaking florals, tiered tulle and all. 

Explore the full spectrum of this year's enchanting looks from fashion's grandest night in the showcase below.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny at the 2024 Met Gala

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Zendaya

Zendaya at the 2024 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Tyla

Tyla at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Glover

Donald Glover at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Stray Kids

K-pop group Stray Kids at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Christian Cowan and Sam Smith

Christian Cowan and Sam Smith at the 2024 Met Gala

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Jack Harlow

Jack Harlow at the 2024 Met Gala

Marleen Moise/Getty Images

Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor at the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande at the 2024 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Rosalía

Rosalia attends the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Laufey

Laufey at the 2024 Met Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Shakira

Shakira at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage

Doja Cat

Doja Cat attends the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

FKA Twigs, Stella McCartney, Ed Sheeran & Cara Delevingne

FKA Twigs and Ed Sheeran on the 2024 Met Gala red carpet

John Shearer/WireImage

Lana Del Ray

Lana Del Ray at the 2024 Met Gala

Kevin Mazur/MG24/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Karol G

Karol G at the 2024 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X at the 2024 Met Gala

John Shearer/WireImage

Charli XCX

Charli XCX at the 2024 Met Gala

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Cardi B

Cardi B at the 2024 Met Gala

Gotham/Getty Images

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa at the 2024 Met Gala

Gotham/Getty Images

Lizzo

Lizzo at the 2024 Met Gala

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Eryka Badu

Eryka Badu at the 2024 Met Gala
Beyonce Run The World Hero
Beyoncé at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Run The World: Why Beyoncé Is One Of The Most Influential Women In Music History

Relive a few of the moments that made Beyoncé the global icon she is today, from her debut with Destiny's Child in 1997 to becoming the most awarded musician in GRAMMY history in 2023.

GRAMMYs/Mar 27, 2024 - 08:15 pm

Since her debut with Destiny's Child in 1997, Beyoncé has become one of the most decorated, record-breaking artists of all time.

In 2023, Queen Bey became the artist with the most GRAMMYs in history with 32 wins, after her seventh album, RENAISSANCE, won Best Dance/Electronic Music Album. That same LP also helped Beyoncé become the first female musician to have their first seven studio albums debut at No. 1 in the United States.

Earlier this year, she became the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with "TEXAS HOLD 'EM," the lead single from her forthcoming album, COWBOY CARTER.

Beyond her chart achievements, Beyoncé has dedicated much of her work to uplifting women and exploring the Black experience, from Destiny's Child's "Independent Women, Part 1" to 2011's "Run the World (Girls)" and her 2016 album, Lemonade.

To add to her extensive resume, Beyoncé is also an active philanthropist and businesswoman. Through her BeyGOOD charity, she has championed countless causes, including education for young girls. Earlier this year, Beyoncé launched her hair care brand, Cécred, alongside an annual student scholarship and salon grant.

Among the many ways Bey has uplifted women around the world, her message to 2020 graduates perfectly summed up her influence: "Make those power moves, be excellent."

Press play on the video above to learn more about Beyoncé's colossal career. Check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Run the World, as well as for more news on Beyoncé's highly anticipated COWBOY CARTER.

Enter The World Of Beyoncé

Shakira Run The World Hero
Shakira at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

Photo: Niccolo Guasti/Getty Images

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Run The World: How Shakira Became One Of The Most Influential Female Artists Of The 21st Century

In celebration of Women's History Month — and Shakira's new album, 'Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran' — take a journey through the Colombian superstar's monumental career, from making global smashes to empowering women worldwide.

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2024 - 07:07 pm

Over the course of nearly four decades, Shakira — born Shakira Isabel Mebarak in Barranquilla, Colombia — has become the best-selling Latin female artist of all-time, and in turn one of the most influential female artists of her time.

In honor of Women's History Month, revisit a few of the massive moments in her career that paved the way for the international market of other Latin artists.

She famously invited Latin flow to the Western music industry with her global breakthrough album, 2001's Laundry Service. Five years later, she broke the record for the most-played pop song in a week with "Hips Don't Lie."

Since the beginning, Shakira has used her powerful performances to uplift other women. Her lyrics often emphasize themes of self-reliance, independence, and female strength, most notably in her 2009 hit, "She Wolf."

More than three decades into her career, Shakira is still empowering women with more history-making feats. In 2020, she co-headlined the Super Bowl LIV halftime show alongside Jennifer Lopez, celebrating Latin culture in front of more than 100 million viewers; it's now the most-watched halftime show on YouTube, with more than 308 million views as of press time.

Now, at 47, Shakira continues to use her voice to encourage women to shape their own path, as a mother of two balancing her colossal career. Her forthcoming twelfth studio album — Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, which translates to "Women No Longer Cry" — is a testament to that.

In celebration of Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran's March 22 arrival and Women's History Month, press play on the video above to learn more about Shakira's achievements. Check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Run The World.

Listen: GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2024 Playlist: Female Empowerment Anthems From Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Jennie & More

Jennifer Lopez Press Photo 2024
Jennifer Lopez

Photo: Norman Jean Roy

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Inside Jennifer Lopez's 'This Is Me... Now': The Superstar & Her Team Detail Why The New Album Is Unlike Anything She's Done Before

Ten years after Jennifer Lopez’s last album – and more than 20 after it's prequel — 'This Is Me... Now,' has finally arrived. Lopez and her team discuss the inspiration behind her deeply personal return to music.

GRAMMYs/Feb 16, 2024 - 03:50 pm

Since the 1999 launch of her unstoppable music career, Jennifer Lopez has released eight studio albums and over 60 singles that have racked up billions of streams worldwide. So it's hard to believe there's been a full decade between the multihyphenate's last album, 2014's A.K.A., and her ninth studio LP, This Is Me… Now.

Released on Feb. 16 and described as "an intimate, fantastical and narrative-driven reflection of Lopez's journey to find love," This Is Me… Now is the highly anticipated sequel to Lopez's now-iconic This Is Me… Then. The 2002 project spawned megahits "Jenny From the Block" and "All I Have," but it's the hidden gems like "The One," "Again" and "I've Been Thinkin'" that perfectly capture a special moment in time for Lopez, whose then-budding romance with Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck was beginning to take the world by storm.

Though their widely beloved (and broadcasted) romance fizzled in the early 2000s, "Bennifer" is back together two decades later — and in classic J.Lo fashion, love is inspiring her more than anything else. The 20-year span between losing each other and reconnecting is chronicled in This Is Me… Now, Lopez's self-proclaimed magnum opus.

"In a strange magical twist of fate, I wound up back together with Ben, and it inspired me again to go back in the studio in the same way I did with This Is Me… Then," Lopez tells GRAMMY.com. "I believe true love exists, I believe that some things are forever.

"If you've ever wondered about that, I'm sharing that with you: Don't give up," she continues. "That was a worthy message to put out into the world because I know I needed that a lot in my life. I wasn't sure and it led me down some very questionable roads. What I think a lot of people do is look for love outside themselves instead of inward, so that more than anything was the inspiration for the new album."

The 13-track LP is accompanied by a musical film, This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, which is available on Prime Video now. Self-funded by Lopez and directed by Dave Myers, the film drives home Lopez's journey of self-love, discovery and awareness while finding her happily ever after.

Lopez, along with BMG's A&R Brandon Riester and the album's executive producer Rogét Chahayed, reflected about her career-defining LP and how it all came together.

The Goals

From the start, Lopez was relentless about making the album sound incredible, even converting part of her Los Angeles home into a studio and shutting down everything — including stepping back from making movies in order to maintain focus on the recording sessions for This Is Me… Now. She also shared private love letters from Affleck with the songwriters and producers to convey the narrative she wanted to translate into the music. 

"She said to me, 'Let's make an album that I'm excited about because I'm in love and that's when I make my best music,'" Riester says. "Jennifer is very much an integral part of the vision and the production and the songwriting on this album. This is her story."

Lopez recruited Chahayed after hearing Jack Harlow's GRAMMY-nominated No. 1 hit "First Class," which he co-produced in 2022. Their initial conversations about musical influences led to Lopez giving Chahayed the rundown of her and Affleck's history together, along with the concept for the album itself.

"She actually wanted to start making music the next day," Chahayed recalls. "But I definitely needed a few days to process everything because I had been manifesting for a while to be able to work with an artist that has a legacy and decades of success, and my prayers were answered."

This Is Me… Now sees Lopez fully leaning into being a hopeless romantic — something she's been heavily scrutinized over for decades. In the extravagant film of the same name, she makes light of her three failed marriages, but it's with the intention of inspiring others that true love exists, which has always been at the core of Lopez's music.

"We're living in a society where the value of relationships and marriage has been sort of lost," Chahayed suggests. "Her album will not only give people a new perspective on her music in general, but also give them a chance to believe in love again — and feel like there's someone out there for you, even if it's someone that you broke up with 10, 20 years ago."

This Is Me… Now picks up right where 2002's twice platinum-selling This Is Me… Then left off with some obvious nods to the prequel; the most blatant is "Dear Ben Pt. II," a follow up to "Dear Ben," on which Lopez describes Affleck as "my lust, my love, my man, my child, my friend, and my king." Still, the 54-year-old global icon didn't want to get caught up in trying to chase hits or recreate the past.

"We never listened to This Is Me... Then in the studio, not one time. That record is always going to have such a special place in my heart, but the sequel is just like another level," Lopez says. "People who have been on this journey with me and who have seen me fall down and get back up and make mistakes and get divorced — that journey got me to a place where I can now go, 'I've figured some things out about myself.'"

As much as the 13-track LP seizes the fairytale-like rekindling of Lopez and Affleck's relationship, it's also about something much bigger: how self-love, or lack thereof, plays a role in the relationships we have with others. "Hearts and Flowers" is a testament to Lopez's inner strength, as evidenced by the defiant chorus. ("It ain't all hearts and flowers/ So many nights and hours/ Every day of my life, in the grind faithfully/ Superpowers, we all got superpowers," she sings.)

"I'm a more evolved, healed person. I'm not saying I'm completely healed, or that I got it all figured out. I don't. But This Is Me... Now represents where I am in my journey right now," Lopez says.

"It's me embracing all of it, even the bad decisions," she adds. "I had to learn to be loving and forgiving of yourself, because then you can be loving and forgiving of other people. You can be empathetic toward other people and great for the world. But until you can give that to yourself, you can't do anything for anybody."

The Moments

Celebratory songs like lead single "Can't Get Enough," "This Time Around" and penultimate track "Midnight Trip to Vegas" have the same giddiness heard in 2002's "I'm Glad" and "Baby I Love U!" — the final two singles off This Is Me… Then. The autobiographical title track is a culmination of a lifetime, merging Lopez's working-class upbringing in The Bronx with the feeling of gratitude for a second chance at true love with Affleck. 

"I watched my mother miss out on her life/ All those could-have-beens became her sacrifice/ But here in the darkness, it's not the future nor the past/ And 'cause it's meant to be with you, boy, it will last," she sings in the opening verse. 

Stripped-down ballad "Broken Like Me" unflinchingly stands as Lopez's most personal work to date, as she deconstructs her J.Lo persona into diaristic lyrics that are bound to surprise even longtime fans. "Two babies at home/ Mama had to be strong/ In a battle for love/ In a war of my own/ And I tried to be honest/ But it made me feel weak/ And when I think about it/ It brings me to my knees/ Couldn't look in the mirror/ Afraid what I'd see/ 'Cause I still loved you/ Loved you more than me," Lopez confesses midway through the track, which moved Affleck to tears after hearing it for the first time.

"Ben would come in the studio and spend hours with us and tell us stories to help set the tone," Riester says. "I remember one moment where he said, 'Where's the pain that I went through of not being with the one that I love for so long?' That's how some of the darker songs like 'Rebound' and 'Broken Like Me' were born. It takes the dark to get to the light, and that's a really big theme of this album."

But there were plenty of fun, lighthearted moments, too; like how an Incredible Hulk-themed guitar autographed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was used for "Mad in Love," a lullaby-esque anthem for soulmates everywhere. Or the night before "Midnight Trip to Vegas" was written, which pretty much sums up everything we love about Bennifer 2.0.

"Jennifer texted me and said, 'Hey, what are you doing today?'" Riester recalls. "I responded and then I didn't hear from her. The next thing I notice is all these news alerts that Jen got married, so I'm texting management like, 'Yo, what's going on? Did you guys not want to tell me about this?' They were like, 'We had no idea.'" 

He continued, "The whole team had been with her every single day for months, but we found out about it the way everybody else did. But it was an amazing story, because Ben was like, 'Everyone's so worried about all the different elements of this wedding. Let's just put it all aside.' I think that just shows you how much they love each other, because it wasn't about the wedding that's for everybody else. This is about their love for each other."

The Outcome

Whether you've been bumping J.Lo since her 1999 debut, On the 6, or simply admire her work ethic, This Is Me… Now defies expectations as she reaches the pinnacle of creative freedom.

"This is truly an artist's project because it is her heart and her soul all pushed into a pen and written out for the world to see," Riester says. "I was telling someone the other day, 'When will an album rollout be like this again?' The story really is well-crafted and the music is incredible. Everyone can pull something from it because we've all been through those moments of heartbreak or finding what you think is your true love."

Days before announcing her first tour in five years, Lopez hinted that her ninth studio album, This Is Me... Now, may be her last ("I really feel very fulfilled," she recently told ET). Whatever her musical future looks like, baring her soul and creating a cinematic experience with This Is Me…Now forced her to grow artistically in ways she never expected — which has brought an entirely new purpose to her remarkable career. 

"I've never done anything like this with a record in my life, or felt inspired to do anything like this with an album. This is the most honest record I've ever made," Lopez asserts. "I was able to do that because I was more mature and had done more work on myself to be really open and vulnerable in ways that I've never been. Everything about me is all in here. This is the album that I've been trying to make all my life — and I finally made it."

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