As Jennifer Lopez celebrates her birthday today, July 23, we want to honor her by sharing her boldest statements, her stance in politics, anti-racism and performative feminism. JLo’s activism and philanthropic work are no secret. From when she first began her musical career with her 1999 debut album ‘On the 6’ to becoming one of the most celebrated idols in pop and contemporary R&B, Lopez has used her platform to be outspoken and propel her activism.
Ever since her epic Superbowl performance alongside fellow Latin icon Shakira in February, JLo’s political views have become heightened by the public. What was widely viewed as a response to President Trump’s immigration policies, JLo’s performance included a symbolic act of having children in cages. The kids crawled out wearing sweaters with the American flag on it. Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent wore a coat of feathers arranged as both the US and Puerto Rican flags, and sang ‘Get Loud’ while her 11-year-old daughter Emme belted out part of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’.
“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are,” Lopez wrote afterward in a statement on social media. “Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great.” The act was seen as debatable by some critics but was praised overall for being bold and moving. Lopez later explained that her entrance was meant to represent “women being on top of the world!”
In 2017, Lopez presented the first award at the Grammy Awards, but before naming the nominees and the winner, she used the time to make another politically-charged statement. “This night is not about dresses or even the awards,” she said. “It is about the music, the words and the voices. How they move us, inspire us, and touch all our lives. At this particular moment in history, our voices are needed more than ever.”
Lopez endorsed former president Barack Obama in his 2012 presidential campaign, speaking in television advertisements and attending a fundraising event for Obama in Paris. She has also endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, headlining a free concert in Florida in support of her in 2016. JLo’s fight against racism has been evident this year during the surge of Black Lives Matter protests. In June, Lopez attended a BLM protest in Los Angeles, following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Lopez is also a proven ally of LGBTQIA++ rights and raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research. In 2013, she was awarded the Ally for Equality award presented by the Human Rights Campaign, for her support of the LGBT community and also received the GLAAD Vanguard Award the following year. Her charity single ‘What’s Going On’ was for an AIDS program, but as it was recorded just before the 9/11 attacks, it was later decided that a certain amount from the proceedings will be donated to the 9/11 fund. She has also made large donations to a charitable organization that helped support children in their fitness programs.
In 2009, JLo and her sister launched a non-profit organization that aimed to increase the availability of healthcare for underprivileged women and children. Additionally, she partnered with a children’s hospital in Los Angeles to further help the organization. In 2013, amfAR presented JLo with its humanitarian award for her philanthropic work.
Lopez has also been an advocate for gun control: Her 2016 single ‘Love Make the World Go Round’, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda benefited victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. According to Billboard, along with numerous other artistes, JLo signed an open letter to the United States Congress in 2016, demanding action against gun violence.
These are just a handful of the many causes Lopez has stood for. JLo’s political views speak for themselves in the history of her philanthropic work and while we love her music, her artistry, her style as a celebrity, we honor Lopez for her care for fellow human beings. She said it best: “At the end of the day it’s all about being, like, a good person — centered, focused and at peace.”