With her romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan set to hit theaters Friday, Jennifer Lopez is everywhere you look: billboards, television, radio, magazine covers. Oh, and let’s not forget her clothing line, her new fragrance, Glow, and a new video game, “Jen Saves Ben,” which features J.Lo saving Ben Affleck from kidnappers.
“You can hardly pass a billboard in New York City without seeing her face plastered on advertisements for her new movie, Maid in Manhattan. Last Friday, she could be seen on The Today Show, bellowing out three singles from her new album, This Is Me … Then,” The Times reports. “Entire newsstands seem to be devoted to the sole theme of “What is Jennifer Doing This Very Minute?”
Lopez got her start in 1990 when she worked as a “fly girl” on the Fox comedy series In Living Color. She went on to star in a series of films, including as Money Train and Jack, but it was her role in the biopic Selena that broadened her following, particularly among Hispanics.
In 1999, Lopez released her first album, On the Six, with Sony-based Epic Records, and worked with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs on the track “Feelin’ So Good.” Lopez and Combs became an item, but called it quits in 2001. According to The Times, Lopez earned street credibility when she stuck by Combs during a 1999 trial over a nightclub shooting in New York.
Last week, Lopez released her third and biggest album to date, This Is Me … Then, which sold 314,132 copies last week, according to Soundscan. But with her increasing popularity on the pop charts, glamour roles in mainstream pics and her recent engagement to Affleck, music critics suggest Lopez may risk alienating her core fan base: the black and Hispanic hip-hop community.
Hence her new single, “Jenny from the Block,” in which J.Lo professes she is still a home girl–just with expensive diamonds and furs. “Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, I’m still Jenny from the block,” Lopez belts out. “No matter where I go, I know where I came from (from the Bronx!)”
Like Mariah Carey, Lopez is the latest in string of pop creations by Tommy Mottola, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment. Mottola and Lopez‘s manager, Benny Medina, have carefully sculpted her career, cultivating just the right blend of “ghetto fabulousness” and middle-class appeal.
The paper asks, “Will Jennifer Lopez last?”
“If she cannot,” The Times reports, “it will not be because Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company of her label, Epic Records, which took up her cause four years ago, has not tried.”