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On Her 50th Birthday, 15 Women Of Color Tell Us What Jennifer Lopez Means to Them

There are few Latinas who have made as big of an impact on the world of pop culture as Jennifer Lopez. From her days as a Fly Girl to the triple-threat who has sold over 80 Million records worldwide that she is now, JLo is a global icon. The Boricua has made headlines with her jaw-dropping fashions, star-studded relationships, and her elaborate performances. Lopez has done all this while repping the Latinidad and supporting her Puerto Rican roots.

On July 24th, the diva hits another huge landmark: she’s turning 50! With her upcoming birthday, it’s the perfect time for us to reflect on the impact JLo has had on us as fans, on the Latinidad, and on pop culture. We asked women of color to share what the star means to them.

Here’s what they had to say about JLo.

1. The icon who never gives up on her dreams.

Instagram / @JLo
“JLO is an icon for all women, especially for minorities. She is a woman who doesn’t give up, who set big goals and meets them. Someone many young girls look up to and she allows them to keep dreaming.” — Karina Magallon, Body Activist

2. The Selena connection.

Instagram / @multifandom_world_92

“To me, she will always be tied to my love of Selena, she did so well in that role, I felt closer to Selena as a child. It seems silly, but the loss of my first hero felt less tragic because all I needed to do was watch the movie and I wouldn’t be sad anymore. So Jennifer Lopez allowed me to cope because of her great acting ability.” — Sonya, Houston

3. A celebration of la cultura.

Instagram / @JLo

“I saw myself on screen for the first time in JLo. She celebrated my values, my features, and my culture unapologetically. I was too young to know Selena when she was alive, but JLo’s performance enabled me to know two Latina queens ???? She gave me the confidence to go after my goals in the most fierce way possible ????????????” — @getitgens

4. Body positive legend.

Instagram / @JLo

“I just wanted to be her, that’s all. I was made fun of for a big butt growing up. She definitely helped my feel more comfortable with my body, then big butts became a thing and I was like???????????? ????????” — @kailababykakes

5. Her lyrics keep us singing.

Instagram / @JLo

“Sis, my love don’t cost a thannngg ????????” — @princessdianae

6. She’s an inspiration to her fans.

Instagram / @JLo

“In SO MANY WAYS! She is my idol and a great source of inspiration — I see myself represented by her and feel so connected to her. ❤️” — @natalieacorrea

7. Fly Girls unite!

Instagram / @80s_90s_nostalgia

“Latina or not – she’s the reason I wanted to be a Fly Girl” — @zerowasteco

8. Confidence Queen.

Instagram / @JLo

“I have always listened to JLo growing up. She definitely made me feel confident about myself. I love her????” — @sydsdanceworld_

9. Her body represented a cultural shift.

Instagram / @JLo

“She became popular around the same time that movies like ‘The Craft’ had a skinny white actress complaining about her butt being too big. As JLo’s popularity grew, so did acceptance of fat asses, and at least SOME curves. She helped end the whole heroine chic look…I appreciated the effect her body had on influencing changes society.” —@lilith.cenobite

10. Forever family-focused.

Instagram / @JLo

“Of course I’ve been a fan of JLo since back in her Selena days, but what really resonates with me is her focus on her family. The co-parenting she and her ex do with their twins seems genuinely good-natured and aimed at keeping their twins happy and loved. All of the pictures she shares of her family on Instagram always make me smile because her family looks so full of love.” — @teoami

11. Her music represents the sounds of the Latinidad.

Instagram / @JLo

“I like that she is there to represent the Latino/a community, gives a little taste of the music and sound that we hear/listen to.” — @wickedly76

12. Success is the name of the game.

Instagram / @JLo

“As an Afro-Latina, I didn’t really see a lot of women who fell into a category of being Black and Latina at the same time. But as a Boricua, I still looked up to J.LO so much. I saw her success and it felt tangible for me. If she could look like she did and have success, I thought maybe I could too.” — Veronica, Chicago

13. The honest misunderstanding.

Instagram / @selenaq212

“I hated her (at first) because I was too young to understand that she was just playing role and not trying to replace Selena ????????????” — @ceegetsfit

14. Two Words:

Instagram / @JLo

“Hoop earrings” — kaycasti

15. THE Latina Fashionista

Instagram / @JLo

“I grew up in a house with a mother who dressed relatively conservatively. (Like she literally wears pearl studs and a cardigan every day.) It’s a style that I’ve always admired and has had a huge influence on my own dress but I do remember seeing J.Lo when she was in her earlier days and really feeling so in awe of her style. Any new trend she was sporting on a magazine cover I was too. I remember seeing her on a Cosmo cover when I was a little girl wearing white and I still try to find dresses like that!” -Akportee / Instagram

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