Jennifer Lopez is gearing up to perform at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, alongside artists including Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake. And the 51-year-old can’t help but see it as a full-circle moment after using her Super Bowl LIV performance to send an important message, she says, about the state of the country.
“It was super important to me, knowing that I was going to have such a big stage, a big audience, to really say some things about what was going on in this country with Latinos: people in cages, and moms and daughters being ripped apart from one another,” she told Elle about the February 2020 performance. “The idea of using the song “Let’s Get Loud” [was about] never staying quiet and always using your voice against any injustices in this world. I feel like sometimes people act like it’s not our country, too.”
As one of the earliest Latin artists to gain notoriety throughout the United States — and the world — for her music, Lopez feels a certain responsibility to represent the Latinx community throughout the country. She even shared that it’s sometimes necessary to remind people that she and her family, from Puerto Rico, are citizens, too.
“It was very important to me to put in “Born in the U.S.A.” and have my daughter sing it, because she was [born here] and I was, too,” she explained. “My mom came here. She was not born here; she was born in Puerto Rico, and [my parents] moved to New York. We are proud Puerto Ricans and Latinos, but we’re proud Americans, too.”
Lopez went on to say, “I never showed some of the things that we were going to do until the last minute, because [I] didn’t want anybody to tell me that I couldn’t do it.” Since that performance, however, she’s become more outspoken about her political stance — especially just before November’s election.
“I’ve told everybody who works around me, all my family, ‘Don’t even talk to me if you haven’t voted,’” she shared. “The world right now is so confusing to me, because I feel like we all know that things need to change. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, if you’re looking at the world right now, you know that we can do better — you know that. We can’t stay with this administration, we just can’t. It’s the definition of insanity.”
She also reflected on being at Hillary Clinton’s planned election-night party four years prior. “I just remember thinking that [a Trump win] could never happen. So we can’t take anything for granted.”
Lopez even gained support from her 12-year-old son Max — whom she shares with ex-husband Marc Anthony, along with his twin Emme — to be an active participant in protests for the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer as he began to understand the size of his mother’s platform.
“He wanted me to make sure I realized that I had power and that I should use it, and I thought that was very insightful. It was one of those parenting moments when you’re like, Oh, maybe I’m raising a conscientious, kind, loving kid here,” she said. “I’m not used to being in big crowds like that, but it felt very empowering, and it was great to see so many young people out there, really young people. I don’t think it should ever be looked at as anything except trying to make things better, trying to make sure that people don’t get hurt, that people are treated fairly.”
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