Dear Jennifer Lopez,
I’ve been watching you since In Living Color when you were, to me, the flyest Fly Girl of them all. I’ve been watching you since your early pirouettes on VH1. I’ve been watching you since you were ironing out the kinks in your mouth, determined to make it even if it meant building a pop voice out of endless hours of practice. Making it out of the South Central section of the Bronx wasn’t an option for you, it was a calling that surely beckoned you in the starriest of nights.
You were raised by immigrant parents with names that sit heavy on the tongue, which meant in their minds that becoming a movie star wasn’t feasible, because the likes of your kind get denied, refused and dismissed. Because the likes of your kind have historically been marginalized voices disallowed from the mainstream. Because the likes of your kind often discover, perhaps a little too late, that the American Dream is rooted in the ugliness that is capitalism which, as Che Guevara once defiantly stated, is “the world’s most respected genocide.”
You are perched at your throne after years of perfecting your entertainer’s craft. You with earnest conviction scooched into upper echelons and pulled up a chair for yourself at the big table. You unapologetically swing brown hips and parade a most coveted derrière on Hollywood streets and red carpets. You made a name for yourself as Jenny from the Block who carried both hip-hop and salsa in her heart. You have been afforded a ritzy livelihood thanks in part to the Black space between the stars that opened itself up to you. You left Castle Hill and never looked back.
You who pass under the guise of “Latino, Hispanic, light-skinned, Trigeuño, Indio, mestizo, or any other term that doesn’t mean sh** because they will come for us too”, had taken up residency in a deafening silence since the Black Lives Matter movement cropped up. Since black and brown folk have taken up arms in the fight against the extrajudicial executions in black and brown communities across our shared nation. When you finally decide to stand for something, you recruit Broadway’s resident rap genius and record a most necessary and brilliant song that calls for global unity and unconditional love, only for you to later blemish a radical gesture with privilege and call it #AllLivesMatter. Deleting your tweet didn’t help, and it certainly didn’t erase how seriously detached from reality you are. Can you hear me from way up there in your ivory tower?
You’ve worked with some of hip-hop’s greatest giants, broken bread with our most beloved; you’ve used the N-word, cut a rug and flashed a mug to some of our favorite rap joints; thrown braggadocio hands in the air as one of our own. I have been watching you long enough to see you turn your back on your black and brown kinfolk. Newsflash, Ms. Lopez: All lives cannot matter until black lives matter—until a bridge is built between law enforcement and the people they have sworn to honor and protect. Ask yourself what you are doing to help build that bridge, and then reconsider the lives being lost to the state even as you tweet.