Smokey Robinson Says Lay Off J Lo, Motown’s Not Just for Black People | TMZ

Smokey Robinson is outraged at all the people who are slamming Jennifer Lopez for representing Motown at the Grammys, and he thinks confining the Motown sound to African Americans is a "stupid philosophy."


About TMZ:
TMZ has consistently been credited for breaking the biggest stories dominating the entertainment news landscape and changed the way the public gets their news. Regularly referenced by the media, TMZ is one of the most cited entertainment news sources in the world.

Subscribe to TMZ on YouTube for breaking celebrity news/ gossip and insight from the newsroom staff (TMZ Chatter & TMZ News), the best clips from TMZ on TV, Raw & Uncut TMZ paparazzi video (from and the latest video from TMZ Sports and TMZ Live!

Keeping Up with Our YouTube Exclusive Content:
TMZ Chatter: TMZ newsroom staff insight and commentary from stories/ photos/ videos on
TMZ News: The latest news you need to know from
Raq Rants: Raquel Harper talks to a celebrity guest with ties to the hip hop and R&B communities.
Behind The Bar Podcast: TMZ's lawyers Jason Beckerman and Derek Kaufman loiter at the intersection of law and entertainment, where they look closely at the personalities, events and trends driving the world of celebrity — and how the law affects it all.

We love Hollywood, we just have a funny way of showing it.

Need More TMZ?
TMZ Website:
LIKE TMZ on Facebook!
FOLLOW TMZ on Twitter!
FOLLOW TMZ on Instagram!
TMZ on TV & TMZ Sports on FS1 Tune In Info:
TMZ is on iOS!
TMZ is on Android!

Got a Tip?
Contact TMZ:

Check out TMZ Live, TMZ Sports and toofab!
TMZ Live:
Subscribe! TMZ Live:
TMZ Sports:
Subscribe! TMZ Sports:
Subscribe! toofab:


  1. People are so sensitive. ‘Eww, J Lo is not black. My feelings are hurt because music is apparently restricted to one race.’

    • +African Girl We still falling for that trick that set us back to begin with. Rhey use use us but really gives 2 shits about us. Smokey Robinson is half white. So you know he has some sympathy for whites, Obama also. We are being fooled by believing that the world is getting better. Statistics show in the U.S. the hispanic community average income is more than blacks. It’s a global umderstanding for whites to keep blacks down. We celebrate because a negrow can play basketball or football.

    • それに対処する人生はいつも予想外になります it’s a sad day. Smokey Robinson is right it’s for everyone.

    • +Ladybug Nah Motown was started in Detroit by a black man in the hard times for blacks. Maybe today it’s for everyone but those singers from back then when it basically started went thru hellish times. Now all of a sudden it’s for everyone. Is the black struggle for everyone. Are you Asian. Do you go thru and or struggle with blacks folks. It’s for everyone, yeh right. You gugs are just intuders. Remember, whites consider Asians white. And i’ve seen Chinese with extreme hate for blacks. So i think you need to back off. This is fake comrade disguise to infiltrate.

    • それに対処する人生はいつも予想外になります do you see black people in Bollywood singing Hindi songs? Do you see black people singing Arabic songs?

    • +Zechs Marquise what’s your point, no i don’t see this because Asians hate blacks. Not all but most.

  2. I’m glad she is a fan. The problem is she can’t sing. She never could sing. At least have the person doing the tribute be wake to sing. And yeah the optics would have been better if you didn’t open yourself up for cultural appropriation. But that’s not even q point if you get a real soul singer.

  3. 😒I like J Lo, but unlike Motown artists, She can’t Sang😳 Period. Idc what Smokey Robinson says. It’s not Black or White for me, becuz Adele would have been more acceptable than J Lopez Sorry, not sorry🙅

    • What do you mean you don’t care what Smokey says? He is on your side. He is trying to prevent this from being a black or white thing.

    • Free2BeMe Allday they obviously thought she could sing well enough to do it but your entitled to your opinion

    • I totally agree. J Lo didnt even seem 2 care about really honoring the true legacy of Motown. Instead she comes out there like shes n a damn Vegas show or something. It was horrible!!!!

  4. I’ve grown up listening to Motown because of some of my old-school family members.
    It’s also considered Chicano music.
    Smokey Robinson is right.
    “It’s music made for everybody”.
    Respect and love.

    • +Jonny Jr as a black man we fought for all races in the sixtys to get equal rights for everybody. But that was the biggest mistakes because every race turned their backs on black folks. Latinos have their own agenda different from the black agenda so why we should even mix with yall. People lighter than black will always get the nod before us. So if ur not black why would we even include y’all in our different.

    • dominic clarke that’s not the point..Motown was know for their unfiltered soulful vocals and Jlo doesn’t have that voice… how do you overlook a Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Toni Braxton, Jasmine Sullivan, Brandy, Monica, I could go on and on in addition to that Motown was created in the Jim Crow era for us by us…most of the artists on the label probably couldn’t even have signed to another label if they wanted to, including Smokey… I don’t have anything against Jlo, I think she’s an extremely talented actress an overall good performer but this tribute should have been left to the people that looked and sounded like the original artists

  5. Im not sure if its a race issue. Keep in mind she sang a Teena Marie song. I personally think it was too vegasy and i didn’t understand the random salsa number. It just didn’t feel like a tribute that we’re normally used to. Maybe they wanted to change things up and get a younger audience really excited about it to remind them of where many things started. Who knows. Nevertheless, great performance just not the type of tribute i was expecting. I do wish more artists were involved.

    • Jerseystarlet
      Someone wrote “I remember the days when I looked at Motown for salsa moves” lol that performance was a JLo showcase. A straight mess

  6. He is right they broke down racial barriers PERIOD. No more ropes separating ppl from enjoying MUSIC TOGETHER. Smh

    • Music is for everyone, but Motown was made because black couldn’t get a music deal. Motown is black and it still appealed to the masses. I say, keep Motown black and everyone will still love it.

  7. That’s NOT why people are mad! It’s NOT about race. That woman CANT sing and gave a showcase rather than a tribute 🤷🏽‍♀️ it’s simple people

    • Before the tribute aired, that was all it was about. All over social media people complained about her race. I saw it myself. That’s what Smokey is defending J Lo from. For those saying she can’t sing, or isn’t the right choice for any other reason, that’s totally fine. That’s their opinion and it’s fine. But many are mad about her race and it’s very unfortunate

    • Joey Harper She SHOULD had been black tf it’s MOTOWN I’m not scared to say it oh well. But since she isn’t black yes they could had picked a female with talent and a beautiful soulful strong voice, not this chic.

    • +StayInyour Lane heres how i know you dont know who is talking in this video. This is SMOKEY ROBINSON. 97% of the music of Motown….HE WROTE. how are you gonna tell the driving factor the machine behind Motown he is wrong. Stfu you still not coming to the cookout

  8. I’m sure most of the complaints about J. Lo had little to do with race and more about the fact she sucked. If she did a good job, cool. But I’m not a fan.

    • When it was first announced that J Lo was going to do the tribute, it was completely about race, unfortunately. Now it’s a mix of complaints of race and talent. Smokey is defending her from the race complainers, not the talent complainers, but people are getting it twisted and it’s creating a big mess

  9. They should have picked someone with a Motown sound. Jlo just can’t sing to the Motown caliber.

  10. I don’t think people like myself are upset because a Latino sang for Motown. I dont like it because their are other people that would of done it justice. Like Janelle Mona fantasia tamia they could of got swv to sing a supremes song. She Put a jlo in Vegas show. I like her just not for this. Hell pink or Christina could of done it & I would be good with it. They could of use the women from dream girls I would of been happier.

    • Yasssssss honey Christina would have tore the house down with them VOCALS 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

    • What place do you have to even feel that way? Smokey Robinson and Barry Gordy ARE Motown! They run this.

    • I don’t agree with Smokey, he is a legend and he is entitle to his opinion, however sometimes when we become soooo rich and successful we forget how we have been robbed and marginalized by others.. How can you have a Motown review without black performers being involved. I just don’t agree, the man needs to continue taking his meds..

  11. why would u have her out there like that knowing she can’t sing 🤷🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️

  12. Motown was music for everybody from day one. Day one. It was called “The Sound of Young America” from day one. They worked so hard to unify the people and now it is being undone. An absolute shame.

  13. I agree with him and this shouldnt even be a big deal. But Motown is a black label with strong history it would be nice to see the new generation of black artists doing the tribute. Not to mention, Jennifer is not talented as an artist or a singer which was my main reason I did not like it. It felt more like a Jlo dance show than a tribute.

    • +Isaiah Goines Did not say it matter what I say, im just giving my opinion on the comment section. And just because he wrote motown or whatever, doesnt mean people cant criticize his decisions and choices.

  14. The Jackson’s did that especially Michael screw Motown and the Grammy’s… they changed the performance to Motown the Jackson 5 brothers were supposed to perform with JLO and due to the doc coming out they changed it…WTH. Michael made Motown.. the Grammy’s sucked and has for over 10 yrs. A lot of devil worshippers is all it is now.

  15. wow. just sad n this is y We, us black people will not have anything because we let other races take from our original contents and use it for they gain. I totally disagree with him.

    • I don’t agree with Smokey, he is a legend and he is entitle to his opinion, however sometimes when we become soooo rich and successful we forget how we have been robbed and marginalized by others.. How can you have a Motown review without black performers being involved. I just don’t agree, the man needs to continue taking his meds..

    • Music does belong to the world.. however they would never allow a black man solo to do a rendition of rocks greatest hits even though we created the sound.

Comments are closed.