Jennifer Lopez says she’s overwhelmed by the idea that she will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night, Aug. 20.
“It is amazing,” she told MTV’s Sway when the lifetime achievement award was announced. “Growing up on MTV, watching all my idols get this award, to be the recipient this year, I can’t even believe it. I’m so excited.”
Lopez is also nominated for two VMAs this year and is set to perform a 10-minute medley of hits from her 20-year music career at the Radio City Music Hall ceremony. The former “In Living Color” Fly Girl says she is planning a “beautiful, strong performance,” but is keeping the details — and any special guests — under wraps until the show, which will also feature performances from Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Logic with Ryan Tedder, and Nicki Minaj, who will perform from a secret location in New York City.
Of course, Lopez, who has sold more than 80 million records worldwide and has had four No. 1 singles and three No. 1 albums, is known for her Bronx roots and Nuyorican upbringing — even naming her company Nuyorican Productions. What many don’t know, though, is that for about half of her time in the spotlight since her debut in “Selena” in 1997, Jenny from the Block’s block was in Brookville, at the Long Island home she shared with now ex-husband Marc Anthony until 2014. Even before that, she had links to Long Island through Manhasset’s LL Cool J, her duet partner on the chart-topping duet “All I Have,” and Glen Cove native Ashanti, who co-wrote the remix of “Ain’t It Funny,” which also hit No. 1.
However, starting with her 2005 album “Rebirth,” Lopez began recording in a number of Long Island studios, especially Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove. Lopez joked at the time that she had to get used to delays Long Island traffic can cause, including the hourslong delay Fat Joe experienced on the Long Island Expressway, as he tried to get to a recording session for what would become their single “Hold Me Down.” “I'm a Bronx girl, don't forget,” she told Z100. “I made a mistake.”
In a career filled with highlights, Lopez told MTV that one of her most memorable was during the release of her 2011 “Love?” album, which was also recorded in part at Cove City Sound Studios.
“Having a hit with ‘On the Floor,’ after I had went away and had babies and then came back and had another No. 1 hit,” Lopez said, “that was an amazing moment.”
Lopez says receiving the Video Vanguard award is another milestone, made even sweeter by the fact that she is the first Latin artist to receive the award.
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“That’s always an amazing thing because you want everyone to know that they have a fair shot at anything in this life,” she told MTV. “If I could be the first to do anything, it’s not about me, it’s about everybody else.”
“I grew up in the MTV era,” Lopez, 49, continued. “I was watching all the way back to Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Janet and Michael — all of them. They were my inspirations to even get into the music business, to do what I did. Their videos inspired me to do the videos that I did. And now, to be 20 years in, and be here and winning this award, it’s mind-blowing to me.”
Lopez says she is thrilled to be part of the VMA spectacle, which is back at Radio City for the first time in nearly a decade. The last time the ceremony was held there (2009) was the infamous Kanye West interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. And Radio City also hosted the awards show for both of the VMA moments that Lopez remembers most — Puff Daddy, Sting and the Bad Boy family’s tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, and Madonna kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in 2003.
“The MTV Awards have always had amazing performances,” said Lopez, who added that she is rooting for fellow Bronx native Cardi B, who leads the night with 10 nominations. “And it’s unpredictable, which is what is always fun about it.”
WHAT MTV Video Music Awards
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan
INFO Airing live on MTV, BET and mtv.com