March marks the start of Women’s History Month and Wednesday was International Women’s Day. So I’d like to dedicate this post to female leadership and specifically to a female leader who is paving the way for entertainment as brilliant as her superstar status: Jennifer Lopez.
Jennifer Lopez, also known as J.Lo, is a world famous actress, singer and dancer whose professional career began at the age of 16, when she made her film debut in My Little Girl . Her big TV break came four years later when she was cast as one of the “Fly Girls” on the comedy sketch show In Living Color. Today, she is not only known for her chart-topping hits and box office successes, but also for her tremendous work ethic and perseverance as an artist and activist. Here are five leadership lessons from Jennifer Lopez:
- Believe in yourself. On June 8, 2022, E! News asked Lopez why she chose to sincerely thank the “haters” during her Generation Award acceptance speech at the 2022 MTV Music & TV Awards. Her response? She said that sometimes these haters inspire us to produce the best results. Lopez believes that the difficult times in our lives, the times when we face opposition or find ourselves on the opposite side of our goals, are when we are most motivated to achieve them. “Those are the things that force us to believe in ourselves, and that really forced me to believe in myself and really work hard and be better in every way possible,” she explained. Lopez said sometimes we need that opposition because instead of holding us back, it’s the “little push” that gets us going.
- Find your ultimate motivation and work hard. Did you know Jennifer Lopez didn’t pay anything for starring in her movie, Hustlers? She did it for free and also produced the film. Lopez told GQ that she was never driven by money. Instead, she’s driven by greatness – to be a great actress, a great singer, a great dancer. “I do things because I love them,” she told the publication. For Lopez, it’s the powerful combination of his passion for creating art combined with a fervent desire for greatness and a tremendous work ethic that equals enduring success.
- Consider the possibilities. If you do the math, Lopez has been in the entertainment spotlight for more than three decades, and her longevity is largely down to her boundless belief in herself and the possibilities of what she can accomplish. She headlined the Super Bowl with Shakira in 2020 and the experience was documented for the popular Netflix documentary Halftime, directed by Oscar and Emmy nominated filmmaker Amanda Micheli. And that almost never happened! The “documentary” began when Lopez’s friends wanted to capture a video to celebrate her 50th birthday during the “It’s My Party” tour and it quickly turned into something bigger when the manager and longtime friend Lopez’s date, Benny Medina, saw the bigger story to tell. Hundreds and hundreds of stock footage was sifted through and edited to showcase the incredible work — and social advocacy — that went into Lopez’s halftime show.
- Be an agent of change. According to a University of Pittsburgh report, between 1995 and 2005, less than 1% of television and film stories featured Latino lead actors. Today, the presence of Latinos in film and television represents up to 5.8% of all productions, according to the Media, Diversity & Social Change initiative of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. And while 5.8% is still far lower than it should be, the example set by Jennifer Lopez inspires future generations, giving hope that the number will continue to rise. After Lopez’s 1997 hit film Selena grossed nearly $12 million in box office sales, Hollywood executives suddenly took notice of her star power — and the power of on-screen Latinas. She helped bring Latinas in entertainment into the mainstream and continues to use her voice to bring more visibility to the community and culture today.
- Give back, always. In 2009, Jennifer Lopez and her sister Lynda Lopez founded the non-profit organization, the Lopez Family Foundation, which was inspired by a real scare Lopez had in 2008. When Lopez’s twin daughter, Emme , found a bump on the back of his head. , she was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night to be checked. (Turns out she was fine). After the experience, Lopez had something of an epiphany, reminding Variety, “I had all these privileges, which didn’t escape me. I went back there that night and thought, ‘What if I don’t have this?’ And so, her foundation was born with a mission to improve health care for women and children. Among many other health initiatives, the foundation worked with Los Angeles Children’s Hospital to support its telemedicine program and established the Center for Healthy Childhood at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where Lopez grew up.
So what’s the message? Let Lopez explain. She once said, “Have faith. Dream big. Think big… and know that anything is possible!
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly column titled “Reflections on Leadership” company-wide. HomeServices of America.