This Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards, Jennifer Lopez will be recognized with the award show’s highest honor: the Icon Award, a lifetime achievement award given to artists who’ve made remarkable contributions to popular music. We could think of many reasons JLo deserves the accolade, but here are our top five.
She’s a Jill-of-all-trades
Lopez, who the world first caught on to when she was a Fly Girl on In Living Color, is one of the only entertainers who’s been able to successfully cross over from film to music and back again. Since releasing her debut album, On the 6, in 1999, the diva has churned out seven more top-selling albums — not to mention the 30-plus roles in film and TV she’s landed since her early ’90s backup dancer days. When she isn’t singing, dancing or acting, she’s behind the scenes as a producer. Plus, she also has her own popular line of perfumes and other merchandise.
She makes bank
Arguably the most influential (and highest-paid) Latin musician, Lopez boasts record sales upwards of $80 million. And it’s no wonder — the star has been creating major buzz since her debut single “If You Had My Love” dropped and made her the first artist since Britney Spears with “Baby One More Time” to top the Billboard Hot 100 with their first single. With a net worth estimated at around $250 million, she certainly merits the notion posed by Forbes in 2012 that she “may be the most powerful entertainer [on] the planet.”
She’s not satisfied to rest on her laurels
When Lopez scored her first recording contract, she reportedly knew it was based more on her looks than her ability. But instead of just coasting through her career as the pretty Latina pop star, Lopez made it her mission to prove that she was talented and deserved her spot in the entertainment industry. Yeah, we think it’s safe to say she accomplished what she set out to achieve. Bonus? She’s a shining example that beauty and ability are not mutually exclusive, since she still has a surplus of both.
She gives back musically and beyond
BBMA’s Icon Award recognizes those who’ve made major contributions to popular music, and Lopez has undoubtedly made — and continues to make — many. In addition to her conspicuous role as a judge mentoring fledgling talent on American Idol, the superstar often uses her music to raise money for charities like the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Red Cross.
C’mon, do we really need to justify this further? It’s Jennifer Lopez. There’s a reason the woman has nearly 30 million Twitter followers and nearly 40 million Facebook fans — she’s f’ing fabulous. In all seriousness, though, people love her. Whether she’s signing autographs in the freezing cold or playfully sparring with Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol, she naturally endears herself to people. We know we can’t get enough of her.