Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Smokey Robinson Speaks Out About Jennifer Lopez Motown Tribute Criticism

Motown Legend Smokey Robinson weighed in on the criticism that Jennifer Lopez received for doing the 2019 Grammy Motown tribute. 

Yesterday, the icon shared a long message via Instagram that was addressed to "all of those of you who protested a wonderful, super talented, world-renowned, superstar like Jennifer Lopez, showing her love and support for Motown music..."

Robinson went on to say that protestors diminished the scope of Motown and narrowed it down to just music for Black people.

He accused protesters of setting "us" back a hundred years.

"And I guess since you feel that way about an artist of another ethnicity doing a tribute to Motown, you must have hated Tina [sic] Marie, Rare Earth and some of our other white artists," he continued. "Stop hating. Motown united people not divided them."

God bless you... Smokey Robinson... #MotownDidItFirst

2,505 Likes, 595 Comments - Smokey Robinson (@smokeyrobinson) on Instagram: "God bless you... Smokey Robinson... #MotownDidItFirst"

From the moment that the Recording Academy announced J.Lo as a performer for the Motown 60 year tribute, social media erupted with criticism and backlash.

Yesterday, comedian and actress Amanda Seales shared a video of herself on Instagram criticizing the performance.

The HBO Insecure star said, "We have got to know when to say no, y'all!"

PSA: It's Motown. It's Black History Month. Not much else to say. #igstorygems On another note @yolandaadams + @tasiasword + @andradaymusic, @neyo , @chloexhalle , @aliciakeys had great performances and unrelated, @msamberpriley is prolly somewhere right now sangin' folks back from the dead with one note. #aintnosalsainmotown #BrandyaintdoinaSelenaTribute #preservationofculture

21.4k Likes, 1,716 Comments - @amandaseales on Instagram: "PSA: It's Motown. It's Black History Month. Not much else to say. #igstorygems On another note..."


Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth.