July 13, 2001 -- Jennifer Lopez, who used to date rapper Sean Combs, is defending herself against charges of racism for use of the word "nigger" in a remix of her song "I'm Real."
"For anyone to think or suggest that I'm racist is really absurd and hateful to me," the singer-actress tells The Associated Press. "The use of the word in the song … it was actually written by Ja Rule [and] it was not meant to be hurtful to anybody," she said during an interview on NBC's Today show this morning.
Lopez performed the original version of the song in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza on the morning show. The remix version by the African-American rapper Ja Rule (who has a small role in the box-office hit The Fast and the Furious) is currently No. 26 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
"I don't want to give it too much energy," Lopez said of the controversy. "I'm here to perform for the fans and that's what I'm going to do."
Lopez remains coy about whether she's engaged to her boyfriend, dancer Cris Judd. She smiled and merely said, "I guess you'll just have to wait and see," when asked about marriage rumors.