Jennifer Lopez Gives Inspiring Speech to 'Girls in All Ages and All Colors' at People's Choice Awards
And the icon of the year is ... Jennifer Lopez!
On Sunday, Lopez, 51, was named The People's Icon of 2020 during the E! People's Choice Awards and was presented with the honor by Armie Hammer.
She received the honor in celebration of her work over her decades-long career — from performing at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year to kicking off her career portraying Selena Quintanilla in 1997 cult biopic Selena.
Before her acceptance speech, the star was surprised with video messages from Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman.
"Congratulations my friend. Like everybody watching tonight, I am a fan and I long admired your work and your uncompromising work ethic and your beautiful authentic audacity made of passion, determination, self-respect and courage. If anybody told you why you shouldn't, you were already busy proving them wrong," Zellweger said. "And if anybody said, 'Well you know that's just not really how it's done,' you challenged into what you had imagined how exactly it's done. You have been pushing boundaries all over the place for decades and this past year, with Hustlers and your shows and your music and your family and your advocacy, empowering women and your unbelievable Super Bowl halftime show — well you just raised the bar into the stratosphere! You are a triple-threat creative visionary, you are an inspiration and you are certainly an icon. Congratulations on this award you are certainly an icon."
Kidman recorded her message from Australia and congratulated Lopez on her honor. "You are the true definition of an icon. I have known you for a long time now and I've watched you go from strength to strength, but I will never forget bringing my sister to your Vegas show," Kidman said. "You came off stage after two hours and Benny [Medina] was standing there and I said, 'Are you sure it's okay? We don't want to interrupt.' He said, 'Come on in,' and you were standing there as if you could go on again. You were just power and love and warmth, so thank you. I send you love and can't wait to give you a hug when all of this is over."
Then, Lopez's 12-year-old twins Emme and Max shared a sweet message and appeared virtually as they supported their mom on stage.
"Man, 2020 was no joke right? I mean before 2020 we were obsessing about winning this award or getting nominated for that award or we were caught up in who sold the most records or box office opening or crazy stuff like did we get the latest drop before anybody else. But not this year. This year was the great leveler," Lopez began her acceptance speech.
"It showed us what mattered, what didn't. And for me, reinforced what mattered most: People, all of us, together. Helping each other, loving each other, being kind to each other. And the importance of that connection, that human touch. I realized that's what I strive for in everything I do. To reach people, to touch people. I believe that's what we all want, those shared experiences to know that we're not in this alone. Your belief and your faith in me motivates me to keep going and sometimes when I'm tired or beaten down, like a lot of us have been this year, it's my family, friends, my babies and my fans, you guys, who have lifted me up when I couldn't lift myself. I am so grateful to have you, to have that in my life," she continued.
"You know I approach my career the same way I approach my life. I lead with life, I feel with my heart and I always try to speak truth in telling stories, singing songs. I do so with the purpose of bringing a little happiness, creating beauty and inspiring others to do the same. From being a little girl in the Bronx, New York, and having the privilege of performing on some of the biggest stages in the world, and even at the Super Bowl earlier this year, that was a biggie! I have seen and learned a lot and I am still learning. I want to thank you and tell you how much I appreciate you for letting me do that in front of you for all of these years," she said.
"As a Latina and as a woman, we have to work twice as hard to get the opportunities, sometimes my big dreams and my ambitions, it made the people around me nervous. 'You can't be an actress. You're an actress, what you want to sing? You're an artist, you won't be taken seriously as a businesswoman.' The more that they said I couldn't, the more I knew that I had to. So now here I stand so very grateful knowing that the true measure of my success is not in box office numbers or records sold, but from the love that I feel from all of you," Lopez shared, getting emotional.
"The true measure is inspiring girls in all ages and all colors, from all over the world, to know you can do whatever want, as many things as you want and to be proud of who you are no matter where you come from. I want them to know your dreams are limited only by your imagination, determination and their willingness to never give up. If I have touched you or them in any small way, then this is the greatest award I could ever recieve. I accept this award with great humility and gratitude, and hope we can begin to heal as a country and stand together united and proud, and in harmony," she said.
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This is Lopez's fourth People's Choice Award. She received accolades in 2011 and 2012 as a judge on American Idol, and most recently in 2017 for favorite TV crime drama actress, thanks to her role in Shades of Blue. She's been nominated for awards 16 times.
“Jennifer Lopez has an unmatched global appeal and for more than two decades, has given us some of the most iconic, unforgettable performances of all time," said Jen Neal, the general manager of E! News, live events and lifestyle digital. "For paving the way for artists around the world and single-handedly increasing Latinx representation in music, film, television and fashion, we’re honoring Jennifer Lopez with 'The People’s Icon of 2020’ [award].”
The singer has seen massive success throughout the years. Since the 1999 release of her first album, Lopez has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. The star has had 10 songs reach the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 and two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200.
Her most recent film Hustlers earned nominations for the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and NAACP Image Awards. Lopez and fellow Latina star Shakira attracted more than 102 million viewers during their Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year.
This year's People's Choice Awards ceremony, hosted by Demi Lovato, is lined with exciting performances from some of the biggest names in the industry including Justin Bieber and Chloe x Halle. Tyler Perry will receive the People's Champion Award and Tracee Ellis Ross will be honored with the Fashion Icon Award.
The 2020 E! People's Choice Awards will broadcast live on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo, E!, SYFY and USA.
Due to the airborne transmission of COVID-19 and case spikes across the country, the CDC advises against indoor gatherings of large groups, and recommends six feet of distance and face coverings at all times.