Jennifer Lopez returned to the block where it all started for her first-ever performance in the Bronx Wednesday evening.
The free show, held at Orchard Beach and sponsored by State Farm Neighborhood Sessions, was an emotional mix of old and new songs that had about 25,000 J.Lovers of all ages dancing and cheering for the Latina star.
“This is such an amazing moment for me, I’m so happy to be home. Doing this tonight is honestly a dream come true for me. Where my Latinos at?! That’s right, we’re in here!” Lopez said as she came onstage, smiling and wearing a dress that echoed the infamous Versace gown she wore to the 2000 Grammys, and in her recent “I Luh Ya Papi” video.
Smart, however, was not at the show, having flown to Mexico City to premiere Pura Vida, a short film he stars in.
During Lopez’s performance, Smart also retweeted a quote from The Notebook‘s Twitter page, which read: “Treat her like you’re still trying to win her, and that’s how you’ll never lose her.” Lopez didn’t mention Smart during her performance, though she dedicated a song to her mom.
The star stopped a couple times in between songs, overcome with emotion as her eyes welled up while she looked out onto a crowd of cheering fans waving Puerto Rican flags.
Ja Rule, Fat Joe and French Montana performed with Lopez, while close friends Benny Medina and Loren Ridinger danced in the audience. T.I. and French Montana’s constant gal pal, Khloé Kardashian, remained backstage during the set, where Kardashian posted photos on Instagram. Lopez’s mother and sister were also backstage.
After the concert, the group kept the party going in the Bronx, celebrating with Lopez at Don Coqui restaurant on City Island.
• With reporting by MABEL MARTINEZ