When Jennifer Lopez was a little girl, her mother would stand her up on the kitchen table, show her how to do the booty shake, and together they would sing oldies or whatever was at the top of the Billboard charts at the time.
“Those were my first performances and it’s what inspired me,” Lopez said while accepting the Icon Award at Thursday’s (Dec. 10) 2020 Billboard Women in Music event.
Wearing a simple white sweater and no jewelry with her hair pulled back, Lopez was the epitome of elegance and grace as she thanked a long list of people who have been instrumental in her career. They included her longtime manager and business partner Benny Medina, as well as Tommy Mottola, “who gave me my first record deal,” and her “new record men”: L.A. Reid and Afo Verde.
Lopez also cited a long list of producers and musical collaborators, from Ric Wake and Max Martin all the way to Marc Anthony, Edgar Barrera and the Rude Boyzz. That mix of gratitude and business awareness, in addition to her artistry, have helped define Lopez’s long and rich trajectory.
“Jennifer, the world admires your compassion, resilience and passion for entertainment,” said her Marry Me co-star Maluma, who introduced Lopez. “We know it’s not easy, but you make it look that way. You’re not only an iconic singer, actress, businesswoman and superstar, you are also my iconic friend.”
In her acceptance speech, Lopez was all about gratitude: To her family (“Alex and our four beautiful kids. Everything I do is for you guys”); to God (“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him”); to Billboard (“This honor is particularly important because we’re celebrating women”); and, of course, to her fans (“You’ve been with me my whole journey. I do it for you and I couldn’t do it without you”).
In receiving the Icon Award, Lopez joins a prestigious list of past honorees that include Alanis Morissette, Cyndi Lauper and Mary J. Blige.