Jenny has returned to the block! But was she welcomed with open arms??!!?
Jennifer Lopez returned back to her old stomping grounds, The Bronx, New York for a free concert to help kick off a national music series with State Farm on Wednesday, June 2nd. Surprisingly this was her first full concert in her hometown since leaving the 6 train for super stardom over 15 years ago. The concert was 90-minutes of old favorites and some select jewels from her upcoming album "A.K.A". There was a full line of mostly male dancers accompanying the diva as she sang her heart out on stage. She didn't come alone of course, surprise guests included French Montana, Ja Rule, and Fat Joe.
Unfortunately, J. Lo's homecoming was not completely welcomed back with open arms. According to the New York Post, there was not huge local support for the concert due to many of her fans who felt negligence and anger in regards to the pop star taking too long to return to the borough. Some Bronx natives were quoted as labeling her a "sell-out" because of her lack of financial and social support of the community yet eagerness to refer to the neighborhood in her performances and hit songs.
As chronicled in a Google search, the press leading up to and thereafter the highly anticipated concert was more than fatal, with most sites taking cue from the NY Post and publicizing the poor attendance [a little more than half of the 25,000 ticket holders actually came to the concert] and "sell-out" quotes from natives.
Page Six even goes as far to say that the concert was a public relations ploy to win local support for the upcoming opening of J. Lo's "Viva-Movil" store in the Throggs Neck Shopping Center of the Bronx. Now lets get down to business...
- Negative press From ABC-7 Eyewitness News about how the concert canceled a potential $75K fundraiser for a Bronx charter school due to close proximity to the concert site
- Quick search of negative press back in July 2013 from the site Welcome2TheBronx.com about J. Lo not giving back to her community but using them for media ploys and another in September 2010 from Singersroom.com about J. Lo not giving back to the Bronx high school that her mother worked for years after being asked by the principal.
- "Media Ploy" article from Page Six days before the concert.
- "Sell-Out" article from New York Post the day after the concert and major sites pulling from it, including New York Observer.
J. LO PR TEAM REACTION:
- Interview with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America which highlighted her "walking through the Bronx" and opening up the "Healthy Eating Center" with her sister through their Lopez Family Foundation.
- Positive recap from CBS News that aired the day of the concert and the day after with positive fan reactions.
- J. Lo thanks fans and posts photos on her personal social media.
REBELLE AGENCY APPROACH:
Let's just be frank, it is shameful that J. Lo hasn't publicly been back to perform or implement programs in the Bronx in 15 years but has had time to shoot videos there and mention the neighborhood in media interviews. So the first thing she needs to do is ADMIT THAT. Public acknowledgement of the negligence will humanize her and allow her to re-ignite a genuine relationship with a neighborhood that has been a part of her brand since her career began.
The PR team was smart to have J. Lo open up a center under her foundation name for the neighborhood however the exclusive GMA interview with Michael Strahan highlighting it should've aired days PRIOR to the concert with a follow-up segment after the concert. Additionally, all of the media personnel who had previously written negative press (that was easily found with a quick Google search) about J. Lo and her social involvement with the Bronx should've been invited to a private luncheon and tour of the new facility. A straight-forward approach would've worked best with negative press prior to the concert because the journalists and bloggers who wrote these articles really do like J. Lo they just don't like that she is using their neighborhood for personal gain. None of the articles mentioned anything about J. Lo being "talentless" or her concert not being a performance success. They want her to give back, that's an emotional request.
Now with the healthy eating center, free concert and soon-to-be-open Viva Movil store, J. Lo needs to sit with her team and see how she can involve herself with Bronx schools and students interested in the arts over the next few years and salvage her relationship with her beloved neighborhood.
At the end of the day, Jennifer Lopez is an American Icon, of course the Bronx and its natives would love to praise her and highlight her as one of their own, but they won't be used and that's a legitimate request. J. Lo and her team needs to meet her fans on the block and not try to dismiss ill sentiments just because they are local. Celebrities and their teams need to realize that there is power in local voices, just ask the reported 9,000 ticket holders that did not attend the "Jenny's Back" concert...