In the summer of 2020, the country rose up as we grappled with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Black Lives Matter protests sprung up all the globe, with millions voicing their righteous anger over police brutality, racial inequity, and the persistent discrimination and devaluation of Black lives. Many people took the streets, including celebs like Halsey, Tessa Thompson, Ariana Grande — and Jennifer Lopez, who just revealed that she also joined the protests.
“The whole thing that was happening with police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos at the border — you feel like you had to contribute,” Lopez told Allure in her cover story. She explained that her son Max, 12, reminded her of her massive platform, and urged her to use it for good. “You know, Mom, some of my YouTubers tell us what we should do, and I listen to them. You have a lot of people that feel that way about you,” he told Lopez. She invited him to get involved, telling him “‘I want you guys to make me the signs because Mommy wants to get out there too.'”
Lopez is a famous person, so it was only natural for her to feel nervous and worry about her safety. “I’m not used to being in big crowds like that — I’m always on the stage,” she explained. “[My life is] car to back door to security to this to that. It was scary. I got a little anxiety.” She worked through those fears, explaining that once she felt the power of the moment, everything dissolved away. “Once I got [into it], to be in the masses like that, I loved it. Like, ‘Wow, there’s a movement happening.’ So many people, different ages, races — it was a beautiful thing.”
It was a beautiful thing. The Black Lives Matter protests were the culmination of an entire painful history, but the work is still ongoing, and just because the protests aren’t happening in full force right now doesn’t mean that we solved racism. Lopez stresses that we can’t become complacent. “We can’t just keep living our lives and thinking everything’s going to work itself out. No, it’s not going to work out. We have to get involved. We have to make changes. That was why 2020, as difficult and scary as it was, was so necessary. What we realized is that we’re all in this together.”
Lopez, who is Puerto Rican, has long been a voice for the Latinx community. In 2017, she donated $1 million to Hurricane Maria relief after it devastated the island. She also got involved in the 2020 election for Joe Biden, urging Latinx voters to head to the polls.