Latino culture taking center stage

Shakira & JLo put on best Super Bowl halftime show in years

Jenna Peterson
Staff Writer

Shortly after the Super Bowl 54 halftime show, there were numerous memes and comments posted on the internet about Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s performance. While I wasn’t able to watch the concert, or the game at all when it took place, I did watch the halftime show later that night.

With all of the cultural references from the costumes, dances, set design, and songs, I’m not surprised many people didn’t understand what was going on, and honestly I didn’t either right away— until I looked more into it.

The Super Bowl was held in Miami this year, which is commonly known as the “capital of Latin America” due to the high amount of Spanish language and culture used and practiced in the city on a daily basis. The city itself has also hold a strong Latino heritage and population, so having two Latin American women perform at this Super Bowl makes a lot of sense to me.

Some of the costumes that Jennifer wore that night were used to show tribute to Selena, the Queen of Tejano music, who Jennifer also played in the 1997 biographical film.

Jennifer also brought out a reversable cape that showed both the Puerto Rican and United States flag while her and her daughter sang “Born in the USA”.

But Somehow people found a reason to be upset about this, even though Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory. One political statement that was shown during the performance was the kids set in the light-up cage structures, which resembled the children who are currently stuck in detention centers. 

Shakira was also sure to include an array of cultural references when she took the stage with her dancing styles and use of expressions. Some of the dancing styles that were included in the show were the salsa, belly dancing, and mapalé, which were used as a tribute to Latin culture.

One of the biggest memes from the Super Bowl was the tongue movements she did during “Hips Don’t Lie”, and while some laughed at this, there was an actual meaning and purpose behind it. What she did is called a zaghrouta, and this is used to express joy and celebration in Arabic culture.

Something that I think is incredibly hypocritical was the comments about the show not being “family-friendly” enough. Past women performers of the Super Bowl have always been called out for the outfits they wear and the “provocative” dance moves. Yet, when performers such as Adam Levine do the same thing, people swoon over it and encourage more of it to happen.

I believe that these women are using their culture to express their pride and are using this time to encourage everyone to have self-love and be confidence in their body.

This performance was energetic from beginning to end and I’m incredibly proud of Jennifer and Shakira for putting on the show they did.

Header photo: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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