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Jennifer Lopez (J.LO)

Jennifer Lynn Muñiz (née Lopez; born July 24, 1969) is an American entertainer, businesswoman, producer and philanthropist. She became interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry following a minor role in the 1986 film My Little Girl, to the dismay of her Puerto Ricanparents, who believed that it was an unrealistic career route for a Hispanic. Lopez gained her first regular high-profile job as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color in 1991, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. She received her first leading role in theSelena biopic of the same name in 1997. Lopez became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role the following year, with the film Out of Sight. She ventured into the music industry in 1999 with her debut studio album, On the 6, joining a select few in successfully converting from a film to a music career.

With the simultaneous release of her second studio album J.Lo and her film The Wedding Planner in 2001, Lopez became the first person to have a number one album and film in the same week. Her 2002 remix album, J to tha L–O! The Remixes, was the first in history to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200, while her fifth studio album, Como Ama una Mujer (2007), received the highest first-week sales for a Spanish album in the United States. Lopez has established herself as a prominent figure in both the film and music industry, in a career spanning four decades. With records sales of 75 million and a cumulative film gross of over $2 billion, Lopez is regarded as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, as well as the highest-paid Latin actress. Her rags to riches story is considered a rarity, having innovated Latin influence in the entertainment community which it lacked for decades.


Lopez's public image and personal relationships have attracted worldwide media attention. Lopez's first high profile relationship was with media mogulSean Combs, who accompanied her to the 2000 Grammy Awards where she wore the infamous Green Versace dress. She became romantically involved with actor Ben Affleck, who would later become the muse of her third studio album This Is Me... Then (2002), while still married to her second husband Cris Judd. Lopez wed long-time friend Marc Anthony in 2004 and gave birth to their twins, Emme and Maximilian, in February 2008. The entertainer has used her position as a global icon of pop culture to begin her own empire, consisting of various clothing lines, accessories, fragrances,a production company, television shows and a charitable foundation among other activities. As of 2012, Lopez has an estimated net worth of $250 million.



Early Life

Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1969, in the Castle Hill neighborhood of The Bronx, New York. The middle child of Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez, she has an elder sister, Leslie, and a younger sister, Lynda. David worked the night shift at the Guardian Insurance Company, before becoming a computer technician at the firm, while Guadalupe was a homemaker. When Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-story house, which was considered a big deal for the relatively poor family. At the age of five, Lopez began taking singing and dancing lessons. She toured New York with her school when she was seven years old. Her parents stressed the importance of work ethic and being able to speak English. They encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home; singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay "out of trouble". Lopez spent her entire academic career in Catholic schools, finishing atPreston High School. In school, Lopez did gymnastics, ran track on a national level and was a member of the school's softball team. She excelled athletically rather than academically, competing in national track championships. In 1984, at the age of fifteen, she began dating David Cruz, her first boyfriend.

While attending her final year of high school, Lopez learned about a film casting that was seeking several teenage girls for small roles. She auditioned and was cast in My Little Girl (1986), a low-budget film co-written and directed by Connie Kaiserman. Lopez acted as Myra, a young woman at a center for troubled girls. After she finished filming her role in the film, Lopez realized that she wanted to become a "famous movie star". To please her parents, though, she enrolled in Baruch College, only to drop out after one semester. She told her parents her dream of becoming a movie star, but they ensisted that it was a "really stupid" idea and that "no Latinos did that". The differences in opinions led Lopez to move out of their family home and into an apartment in Manhattan. During this period, Lopez performed in regional productions of the musicals: Jesus ChristSuperstar! and Oklahoma. From there, she was hired for the chorus in a Golden Musicals of Broadway, which toured Europe for five months. She was unhappy with the role, as she was the only member of the chorus to not have a solo. She later got a job on the show Synchronicity in Japan, where she acted as a dancer, singer and a choreographer.


Personal life

For over fifteen years, Lopez's personal life has attracted widespread media attention.. From February 1997 to January 1998, she was married to Cuban actor Ojani Noa. Since their brief marriage, Lopez has endured legal troubles regarding Noa. She sued to prevent him from publishing a book about their marriage in April 2006, contending that it violated with their confidentiality agreement. The following year, a court-appointed arbitrator issued a permanent injunction forbidding Noa from "criticizing, denigrating, casting in a negative light or otherwise disparaging" Lopez. She was awarded $545,000 in compensatory damages and Noa was ordered to hand over all copies of materials related to the book to Lopez or her attorney. A lawsuit regarding a compromising private honeymoon video in Noa's possession is presently running.

While working on her first album On the 6, Lopez began dating record producer and rapper Sean Combs. On December 27, 1999, the couple were arrested along with two others in connection to a shooting outside the Times Square Club in New York. They were charged with criminal possession of a weapon as well as stolen property. Lopez was soon exonerated, having had nothing to do with the crime. However, Combs was charged and given an indictment by a Manhattan grand jury. After leaving Combs, Lopez developed a relationship with former back-up dancer Cris Judd, whom she was married to from September 2001 to June 2002. Following her second divorce, she commenced a high-profile relationship with actor and director Ben Affleck, whom she became engaged to in November 2002. The media began to refer to them as "Bennifer" and they became a prominent supercouple in the media and popular culture. Bennifer became a popular term, which was eventually entered into urban dictionaries and neologism dictionaries as notable, as the name blend started the trend of other celebrity couples being referred to by the combination of each other's first names. The couple postponed their nuptials indefinitely a day prior to the planned ceremony in September 2003, citing the media's interference with the event as the reason.

Following her break-up with Affleck in January 2004, Lopez began dating long-time friend Marc Anthony. The couple wed that June. Two men attempted to ransom a private wedding video which was stolen from the couple for one million dollars; however they were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of conspiracy, attempted grand larceny and possession of stolen property. On November 7, 2007, during the final night of their co-headlining tour, Lopez and Anthony officially confirmed that they were expecting their first child together. The announcement ended months of speculation over the pregnancy.Her father confirmed that the couple were expecting twins, revealing that it runs in the family: "My sister also had twins, so it's a hereditary thing".

Lopez gave birth to a son, Maximilian David, and a daughter, Emme Maribel, in Long Island, New York on February 22, 2008. The twins were introduced in the March 11, 2008 issue ofPeople, for which the magazine paid a reported $6 million—the photographs of the twins became the most expensive celebrity picture ever taken at the time. Three years later in July 2011, the couple announced their split, with Anthony filing for divorce in April 2012. Since October 2011, Lopez has been in a relationship with her former back-up dancer Casper Smart. Lopez has stated, "I am a nontraditional family. Me being a single mom, their dad doesn't live at home with them. They have three stepbrothers from two other mothers...that’s not traditional".


Musical style

Lopez has explored various musical genres over the course of her career; this includes Latin pop, dance, R&B, hip hop, rock, funk, house and salsa among others. Often in collaboration with songwriter Cory Rooney—according to Ed Morales in The Latin Beat: The Rhythms And Roots Of Latin Music From Bossa Nova To Salsa And Beyond (2003)—Lopez's music is often experimental of her Nuyorican point of view: she explores the romantic innocence of Latin music while feeling a stronger identification towards hip hop due to her partial African ancestry and the historic African American socialization between the two worlds. Lopez was exposed to traditional Latin pop music styles ranging from salsa to bachata as a child, though it was hip hop music such as the 1979 song "Rapper's Delight" by hip hop trio The Sugarhill Gang that "changed" her life. As she forayed into the music industry, she infused the Latin music she grew up with together with the hip hop sound she loved, which she dubbed Latin soul. Her first two albums included funk, dance and urban music as well as sensual ballads and Spanish-language songs. At the height of her success in the urban market, she released a downtempo ballad entitled "Alive" which marked a significant departure from her previous material.

The release of ‘This Is Me... Then’ saw Lopez invest in adult contemporary R&B music which was inspired by '70s music. Rebirth explored more hip hop and pop rock, utilizing stronger use of percussion and horns, and introduced foreign genres to Lopez such as African music. Her sixth and seventh studio albums, Brave and Love? delved further into a dance music direction. Love is the main focus of Lopez's music, although she has explored themes such as dance, sex, female empowerment, friendship and self-loathing. She often includes personal experiences in her songs, such as her relationship with Ben Affleck on tracks "Dear Ben" and "He'll Be Back". Songs from Love such as "Until It Beats No More" and the personal "One Love" are also based on Lopez's own love life.

Lopez has been influenced by artists such as Tina Turner, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Barbra Streisand. Critics have considered Lopez's soubrette vocal type to be limited. Having experienced insecurity about the strength of her voice herself, Lopez has since grown in confidence, crediting Marc Anthony for helping her "let it out". Rolling Stone observed: "Instead of strained vocal pyrotechnics, Lopez sticks to the understated R&B murmur of a round-the-way superstar who doesn't need to belt because she knows you're already paying attention [...] Behold jiggy Jennifer Lopez, song-and-dance woman: She makes a little va-va and a whole lot of voom go a long way". However, Entertainment Weekly has criticized her singing voice for lacking the trademark "husky-voiced voluptuousness" she has in her films.

Critics observe that Lopez's light vocals, though radio friendly, are often obscured by the glossy production of her music. The Baltimore Sun regards Lopez has having a breathy stylistic range, though feels that her material lacks personality and that she instead sounds similar to other artists such as Janet Jackson and Madonna. Today Music opined: "like Madonna and Janet, people don’t listen to J.Lo for the poignant lyrics—she’s best when riding a dance groove". Despite criticism, Latina ranked Lopez thirteenth on "50 Best Latin Singers", writing, "Whether it’s for her vocals, dramatic lyrics, or her pop dance beats, we guarantee that everyone will stop to listen".


Choreography and stage

Lopez in her 2003 music video for "I'm Glad", which is a homage to the filmFlashdance. The clip is seen as one of the sexiest music videos ever by Daily Mirror, and garnered four MTV Video Music Award nominations.

Lopez has felt a deep emotional connection to dance and choreography since her childhood. While she was a child, she specialized in ballet, jazz and flamenco dance genres. Lopez has been noted to have begun her career on the variety television sketch comedy series In Living Colour, where she was apart of a dance "troupe" labeled The Fly Girls. The Fly Girls were branded as a group of versatile and attractive female dancers whose ethnic backgrounds varied, reflecting the broad base of interest in hip hop culture. There, Lopez took part in hip hop choreographed skits that were unique for their addition of "edgy" elements. In The American Dancefloor: Hip Hop Dance (2012), author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar observed that her contribution on the series which was "the mainstream answer" to Saturday Night Live marked the beginning of Lopez's entertainment career. Lopez briefly served as a back-up dancer to recording artist Janet Jackson, who she claimed to have a considerable influence over her choreography. After commencing her own music career, Lopez's provocatively choreographed debut music video, "If You Had My Love", allowed her to become a dominant figure on Music TelevisionNetworks worldwide, a field that had previously been consumed with primarily Jackson and Madonna. Since, Lopez has become well-known for her body-emphasizing music videos such as "Waiting for Tonight", "I'm Glad" and "Dance Again" among others, which have been subject to a mixed response.Lopez exercised her dancing skills in the film Shall We Dance? (2004), for which she had to learn a new genre: ballroom. Her fluency and form received praise. Lopez often includes dance routines to her music videos.

In a study of the successful Latina in relation to sex and dance, author Priscilla Peña Ovalle observed in Dance and the Hollywood Latina: Race, Sex and Stardom (2011), that Lopez utilized the mythology of dance which makes the Latina star a "paradoxical figure". Ovalle wrote: "[the] Latina star strikes a balance: by wielding her body and its purported sexuality in familiar ways, she achieves agency in a career and nation that would otherwise exclude and her and her movement." Troy Patterson of Entertainment Weekly also noted Lopez for using her body for emphasis, "She turned herself out as the fly girl hyperversion of postfeminist power, flaunting her control by toying with the threat of excess. In consequence, her star went supernova." Lopez and Shakira are recognized for their signature moves which include "clock-wise pivoting with salsa hip circles and sequential torso undulations".

Lopez is often noted for her choreography and high-energy provocative stage performances, which have at times caused her to receive scrutiny from the public. She often includes bodysuits as part of her performances. Though noted to lip sync in the early stages of her music career, Lopez's Dance Again World Tour was praised for showcasing her live vocals and choreography synchronously. In May 2013, Lopez's performance on the finale of the television series Britain's Got Talent, which was deemed inappropriate and over-raunchy for family-friendly television, drew official viewer complaints to Ofcom.

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