Time For Jennifer Lopez To Retire Jenny From The Block?

07/16/2013
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(Radio.com) Amidst a press push for literally her entire empire, Jennifer Lopez has once again decided to don her "Jenny From The Block" cap to go back to the Bronx. Lopez took noted celebrity profilist Lynn Hirschberg there for a W Magazine August cover story. The feature reveals no new information on Lopez, instead retreading her roots as a Bronx native and In Living Color Fly Girl. But this story has been told and retold literally since 2002, when "Jenny From The Block" was released, long outlasting the Bennifer story that originally encircled the video (which co-starred Lopez and her then-fiancι, Ben Affleck).

Why does Lopez keep coming back to this narrative for herself, long past its sell-by date? In truth, this idea of a girl from the hood isn't a narrative about Lopez that could continue without her blessing. The tabloid media, with their love of printing women's ages and hometowns as a way to distract readers from realizing they've written 50 words based entirely on rumors or untruth, need that information in all their J.Lo write-ups to fill space. And the more serious media, even in their fluff pieces on the star, like to use the backdrop of the Bronx to add in folksiness. When Lopez talks about herself in that context, both in her music and to the press, it passes on a sense of self-identification. She's saying: "I'm just a girl from the Bronx. I overcame my situation. I am the American dream. I am still humble. I have a special appreciation for my success, because I came from nothing."

But in truth, the marriage of duel identities — Jenny from the block and a pop diva — has been messy and at times appeared disingenuous. This is, after all, a woman who has no less than 20 fragrances emblazoned with her name and even more dance floor-ready hits.

The "Jenny From The Block" video itself was a mish-mash of messages. The lyrics insisted that she'd never forget where she came from and always be that girl from the low-income block in the Bronx, but it was married to images of Lopez looking like a Fellini film star in just a pair of designer underwear and a belly-bearing sweater. Or hanging out topless on a yacht. All with her very famous love interest. But still, just that normal girl is inside, under all the glamour. She vowed to "put God first and don't forget to stay real." But, you know, keep wearing rocks. There was something genuine about the number of fashion faux pas she committed in the video, the heavy make-up she still wore and the cavalier toplessness and belly showing. It felt like watching someone who was genuinely coping with her own rise, who wanted to keep an eye on the person she was before the fame. She was still a woman who hadn't been inducted into the halls of high fashion and didn't always wear the right things. And at the time, the video achieved something; it served as a commentary on success in general and the intense paparazzi surveillance Bennifer were under. More.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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