Smokey Robinson has doubled down on his support for Jennifer Lopez’s inclusion in the Grammy Motown tribute.
Lopez joined the Motown legend and singer Ne-Yo for an energetic tribute to the record label, which was founded by Berry Gordy in Detroit in 1959.
But some people weren’t thrilled about it and Robinson posted a lengthy statement Tuesday on his Instagram account.
“Attention, all those of you who protested a wonderful, super talented, world renowned, super star like Jennifer Lopez, showing her love and support for Motown music, here’s some food for thought,” Robinson wrote. “On the very first day of Motown Berry Gordy told the five of us who were present, ‘I’m gonna start my own record company and we’re gonna make music for everybody and always be sure to make quality music that the world can enjoy.”
“And through the Grace of God and hard work and determination, we accomplished that,” Robinson said. “Kids of all races, worldwide, grew up loving the music of Motown, imitating our acts. Pretending to be Diana Ross, the Temptations, Michael Jackson and so on.”
Robinson pointed out that parents continue to turn their kids onto Motown music before he took on Lopez’s critics.
“So now you’re gonna try to diminish the scope of Motown and narrow it down to just music for Black people and you call yourself defending the image of Motown,” he said. “Well you’re trying to set us back a hundred years. If you call yourself loving Motown, be happy that we reached so many people and broke down so many racial barriers and that an artist like Jennifer, even after hearing all your negative comments, still loved Motown enough to do the tribute anyway.”
Prior to the performance, Robinson also defended the selection of Lopez.
“I don’t think anyone who is intelligent is upset,” Robinson told Variety. “I think anyone who is upset is stupid.”