Memo to Jennifer Lopez: Lose the chump. You may think you’re working out the career thing by dating a stocking-cap sporting, platinum-chain wearing, white-mink-coat having, and violence-prone gangsta pretender, but the street consensus is you’re on the wrong tip. Forget East Hampton. What kind of guy takes you on dates that end with a 14-hour police interrogation? For that matter, what kind of multimillionaire sophisticate thinks a happening evening is Hot Chocolate Night at Club New York?
Those producers who may be looking for a reason to halt the Latin invasion, Miss Lopez? You’re giving them a great one by consorting with people who tuck stolen weapons in their waistbands. “She’s going all the way the wrong way with this guy,” said Lopez fan Awilde Rios last week, as she stood outside the Mi Casa Es Su Casa confectionery on Fifth Avenue in East Harlem. “But it’s an old story, women getting stupid for the wrong kind of fellow.”
“If Sean was involved in this,” publicist Bobby Zarem was quoted in the Daily News, “it absolutely impacts negatively on Jennifer Lopez’s career. It becomes guilt by association.” Does the term “completion bond,” Miss Lopez, ring a bell?
According to your Web site, Jennifer, you had your body insured for $1 billion in 1999, and took out a separate $300 million policy on what Chris Rock once called your most valuable asset. But that didn’t keep you from getting your behind in a sling after a club fracas and ensuing police chase. It certainly didn’t aid Julius Jones and Natanya Rueben, who respectively caught slugs in the shoulder and nose, bullets police say were discharged from a 9mm Ruger carried by Jamal Barrow. You remember Mr. Barrow? The 19-year-old Belize-born performer who raps on your boyfriend’s label as Shyne, the man in the party of almost 30 sharing two dozen bottles of Moët in the VIP section of Club New York, the guy who pulled a gun when the ruckus started and whom police later decided to hold on three counts of attempted murder? Sure you do.
Was the uproar over a dis? Did a clubgoer fling cash at your boyfriend’s posse? And was that a huge surprise? “When you have a situation where someone’s famous, people are always going to find a way to act ignorant,” William Wright said last week as he exited Kings barbershop on West 128th Street. “You’re attracting the attention. From what I understand, Puffy attracts it even more. He’s a flamboyant guy. It’s human nature that people are going to challenge the man with success, and then you get yourself in a situation.”
Combs, as we know, has a way with “situations.” There’s the Combs-sponsored City College rap concert in 1991 that ended in a stampede and melee with nine dead and 29 injured. There’s the retaliatory beating in April of Steven Stoute, in which Combs attacked the producer with a champagne bottle, a chair, and—charming touch—a telephone. There’s the unlucky propensity for being around when automatic weapons discharge—for example, the 1997 shooting of Christopher Wallace, a/k/a Notorious B.I.G., in Los Angeles. Combs also has a creative approach to income tax filing (as reported on www.thesmokinggun.com), deducting work for a local charity as a full-time job. And, when he isn’t fluttering around Martha Stewart’s East Hampton estate gilding roadkill, he can often be found immersed in a milieu where—to employ the delicate phraseology of one local paper—violence is “a leitmotif.”
Well, duh. The leitmotif is getting old, Miss Lopez, a/k/a La Supernova, a/k/a La Guitarra. As tired as gold chains, as a Mafia alias, as Suge Knight’s rehabilitation, as Kid Rock’s midget. It’s as worn out as the inevitable hoary exhortation to “throw your arms in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care.” Cypress Hill trumped that one, anyway, Miss Lopez, when they slipped “guns” into the chant, hardly anticipating that certain members of Combs’s entourage would take it literally.
And “packing” doesn’t read as such an outlaw act, anyhow, not to your average person from Harlem or Flatbush or East New York or Compton. “People think it’s cool to be packing?” James Gordon inquired rhetorically one afternoon last week, as he stood outside the Lincoln Hospital substance abuse clinic in the South Bronx. “Then they should come around the way and see these 20-year-old guys in wheelchairs because somebody popped them. You’re never going to walk again? How cool is that?”
About as cool as your boyfriend’s fashion sense, Miss Lopez, which, let’s face it, makes him resemble a ghetto version of Claudine Longet. Harlem isn’t in Aspen, by the way, as anyone who names a triple-platinum album after an MTA line might be expected to know. And let’s not forget that even Longet—an ex-Mrs. Andy Williams—once “accidently” shot her ski bum boyfriend and did 30 days for criminally negligent homicide.
“She was crying all over the place, in the squad room,” a police source told the dailies about you, Miss Lopez. “I’d be crying, too, in a situation like that,” said Mayte de Jesus, a customer at TL Hair Designs on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. “Then again, I wouldn’t get into a situation in the first place, because I don’t take no mess with guns.”
At a press conference following his arrest, Sean Puffy Combs proclaimed his innocence, saying, “I do not own a gun. I do not carry a gun. The charges and allegations against me are 100 percent false. I am confident in the next couple of days I’ll be vindicated and everything will be all right.” Combs reprised his innocence in a nonstop loop throughout the MTV millennium celebrations, although, conspicuously, none of the VJs were heard leaping to his defense. And he’ll need one, now that the first of the Club New York victims has filed a multimillion-dollar civil suit against him and Barrow, the kind of action that will certainly require you to put in a lot of unpaid courthouse face time.
Gorgeous as you were at last week’s grand jury hearing, Miss Lopez—composed, demurely coiffed, a Latina Grace Kelly behind your tinted Chanels, fully inhabiting the persona that inspired the Spanish language edition of People to give you its highest poll rating for familiarity, likeability, and trustworthiness—there were those who said, “Scratch a diva and find a pigeon.” It takes a particular kind of guy to play a woman—even a media-wise celebrity creation such as yourself—with such sleazeball aplomb. TLC coined a word for the type who can: scrub.