Jennifer Lopez Worked As A Backup Dancer For A Music Legend Before Making It Big

Netflix recently dropped a Jennifer Lopez documentary titled "Halftime." The documentary is less about her rise to superstardom from humble beginnings and more about her preparation to co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Performing at the Super Bowl is something most musical performers consider an honor. But a lot of anxiety comes with that honor, as Lopez told Ellen DeGeneres

In addition to getting a peek into her creative process, "Halftime" also follows the star as she lobbied for her 2019 film "Hustler" during awards season. Lopez not only starred in the drama but also produced it — a task the global pop star recalls as not being an easy one. "Hollywood is run by men. They have ideas of what's gonna sell and what's not gonna sell, we're trying to change that," Lopez explains in "Halftime" (via Rolling Stone).

But let's rewind a bit and take it back to how Lopez's career really started; we're talking about before her transformation into JLo, before tabloids were interested in her celebrity boyfriends, before she wore the green Versace dress. We have all witnessed what a phenomenal dancer she is. So it should be no surprise that it was her dancing that got her noticed and set her on the path to major success.

Jennifer Lopez danced on a comedy sketch show

The '90s were a magical time that many who lived their formative years through will claim as the best. The music and the fashion were just a couple of elements that make it stand out in pop culture. From 1990-1994, Fox aired a predominantly Black sketch comedy show called "In Living Color" (via IMDb). Dubbed "TV's most dangerous sketch comedy series," according to Level, it was created by Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Quite a few of our most beloved stars of today can credit their success to the daring show. Some of those stars include Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, and, yes, Jennifer Lopez (per IMDb). Thanks to rom-coms like "The Wedding Planner" and "Monster-In-Law," we now know JLo can hold her own in a comedy. But from 1991 to 1993, it wasn't the laughs that got her on the "In Living Color" soundstage, it was her talent as a dancer

The comedy series had a format that was a bit unique at the time. At the top of the show and right before commercial breaks, the audience would be treated to Wayans' younger brother Shawn "DJ SW1" Wayans spinning popular tunes. As an added bonus, a group of five young dancers — known as the Fly Girls — would perform. The same year, JLo was able to show her dance moves as a back up dancer for New Kids on the Block at the 1991 American Music Awards (via the Daily News).

JLo also worked with Janet Jackson in the early '90s

After receiving the 2018 MTV VMA Video Vanguard Award, Jennifer Lopez sat down with Sway to discuss the win. The conversation comes around to the "Selena" star giving credit to the performers who have influenced her. "I grew up in the MTV era. I was watching all the way back from Tina Turner ... and Madonna and Janet. They were my inspirations to even get into the music business," she said (per MTV). One can assume the Janet she is referring to is Janet Jackson.

It's not often someone gets to work with one of their idols, but JLo got that chance. If you watch the music video for Jackson's 1993 "That's The Way Love Goes," you will see a very familiar face within the first 15 seconds. The video starts with Jackson playfully ignoring her friends as they ask to listen to her new music. With her distinct accent intact, a very exasperated JLo shouts, "Janet, listen to us when we talking to you!" 

This music video epitomizes the '90s — Bohemian, incense and sage burning, hanging barefoot with your crew, waiting on take-out to arrive, VIBES. There is also a video of Jackson introducing each dancer with a bit of friendly ribbing. When Jackson introduces JLo as one of the newbies, she seems to be right at home with the rest of the bunch.

Jennifer Lopez had her sights set higher

Janet Jackson's "Janet World Tour" was set to kick off in November 1993, and she wanted Jennifer Lopez to join her on the road as a dancer. According to Insider, Lopez called Jackson and explained that she wasn't interested as she would rather pursue her own career. Being a superstar icon herself, Jackson had no ill feelings about her decision to pass on the opportunity.

It would seem that the Latin superstar made the right call. She was dedicated to taking that time to work on her music and acting career. In 1999, she released her debut album "On The 6." The album peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (per The Things). With hits like "If You Had My Love" and "Waiting For Tonight," the album made quite the impression. Ever since, the world hasn't stopped speaking her name, and the legendary superstar is not showing signs of stopping anytime soon.