Jennifer Lopez has forged an impressive career as a dancer, singer, actress and producer in a predominantly white entertainment industry. But Boricua poet Nina Mariah Donovan feels the star doesn’t get enough credit for her success.
Donovan breaks down all the ways that Lopez is so much more than just her “beauty and booty” in a poem titled “MyQueen! JLo!,” which the poet uploaded to YouTube on Sunday.
In her ode to Jenny from the Block, Donovan denounces the way the media focuses on the star’s love life or body instead of all her philanthropic efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Lopez is a “lifeline of hope for people this country would rather kill off,” the poet writes, referencing the highly criticized hurricane relief efforts by the Trump administration in Puerto Rico.
The poem says in part:
I’m sorry that tabloids have always tried to erase your impact
DailyMail miswrites your booty as the main attraction, and not just the tail of a lion.
Like we get it!
Even at 48, you’re still a snack!
But you’re the mofongo and a glass of coquito too.
Your beauty and booty are both captivating,
like the telenovelas that our abuelas lived through.
But they forget you floated from In Living Color Fly girl
to an It Girl putting color where people were too comfortable with its absence.
Caramel demanding to stick out in scenes that would rather settle for vanilla bean.
You have become an American Idol and Latina dream;
a crossover when they would rather divide us.
The poet ends by calling Lopez “Boricua royalty” who shows Puerto Ricans they can “make waves while an entire country is waiting for you to drown.”
Lopez not only heard the ode but shared Donovan’s poem on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on Sunday night, writing that she was “humbled and blown away... Thank you.”
Donovan reacted to her “queen” seeing the piece with her own Instagram stories.
“You guys don’t understand, seeing J.Lo as Selena [Quintanilla] when I was 5 is the reason I ever wanted to be a performer in the first place,” wrote Donovan, referring to the 1997 biopic. “She impacted me at such a young age and those dreams of impacting other ppl like she did stuck with me.”
The poet’s work has been in the mainstream spotlight before. In January, actress Ashley Judd gave a viral performance of Donovan’s poem “Nasty Woman” during the Women’s March on Washington.