Entertainment

After Many Accused Shakira And Jennifer Lopez Of Anti-Blackness, Shakira Defends The Decision To Perform At The Super Bowl

When Shakira and Jennifer Lopez accepted the gig to perform at the Super Bowl Half Time Show in 2020, after many musicians, like Rihanna and Afro-Latinx Cardi B, turned down the offer in support of Colin Kaepernick, they were met with some strong feelings. 

Many believed the iconic singers were aligning themselves with an anti-black institution, a critique that was similarly leveraged against rapper Jay Z who recently partnered with the NFL along with Travis Scott and Maroon 5 who performed at the 2019 show. In 2018 Diversity Inc reported, according to an NFL Insider, “Nobody wants to be associated with it.”

In an interview with the Guardian, the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer spoke about her decision and what it means in Trump’s America for the very first. 

Shakira says performing at the Super Bowl Half Time Show is good for Latinxs.

“Well, you know, I think it’s the right thing to do for the Latino community because we’ve also been through so much in Trump’s America, with walls being built and …” Shakira told the newspaper. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate our culture, you know?”

Many began to wonder: the right thing to do for which Latinxs? After all, some are black. Nevertheless, Shakira has a semblance of a point. Increased visibility, in a time where hate crimes targeting Latinxs have reached a fever pitch, can present an alternative to the narrative of the Trump administration in which Mexicans are “rapists,” that there is a “Hispanic invasion,” and DACA recipients are “criminals.” 

However, betraying one sect of Latinxs and black Americans to benefit another sect may not help promote an anti-racist agenda overall or appease her critics. 

“I’m so honored to be taking on one of the world’s biggest stages in the company of a fellow female artist to represent Latinos and Latinas from the U.S. and all over the world!” Shakira said about performing. “This is a true American dream and we are going to bring the show of a lifetime!”

Some Twitter users accuse Shakira of anti-blackness.

“I am only one person, but as a Black Puerto Rican/Afro-Latina women Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, a Puerto Rican and Columbian in my opinion are engaging in anti-Blackness by performing at the #SuperBowl half time show this year,” Rosa A. Clemente, a lecturer and organizer tweeted. 

Another person tweeted: “Once again, white Latinxes are happy to perpetuate anti-Blackness in exchange for proximity to & acceptance by whiteness in the US,” one user Tweeted. ” (But ya’ll should know that this acceptance isn’t real b/c its  predicated on the oppression of others. A snake’s a snake.)”

While some admitted they were excited to see two Latinas take a major stage together but, nevertheless, were torn on the decision.

“I know I was happy for JLo and Shakira for being latinas performing the Super Bowl but after thinking I’m actually super upset that they said yes and we’re not willing to stand in solidarity w. CK. We (non Afro latinas) need to work harder to stand in solidarity with black folks,” another user Tweeted. 

While another user took their message right to Shakira, saying : “@shakira please don’t play the Superbowl. You don’t need the money. You stood for Palestine. You need to stand in solidarity with the American black community.”

Artists boycott the Super Bowl Half Time Show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee to protest police brutality each time the national anthem played in 2016. Fueled by the right-wing media, Kaepernick’s protest became a national controversy, causing him to be fired from the NFL abruptly. Since then, artists, including Jay Z initially, have protested the sports league. 

“The majority of artists we’ve reached out to are standing in solidarity against the NFL. They do not want to be associated because of the protest that was started by Mr. Kaepernick against racial injustice and police brutality,” Gerald Griggs, VP of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP who reached out to multiple artists, told the Observer

Jay Z was criticized for changing his mind and partnering with the organization. A move many believed was performative justice or simply put a way for Jay Z to make bank while looking like he is doing activism. 

“Many black activists made similar market-based civil rights arguments through the 20th century, using the logic that wealth-building could undo the evils of racism,” Brentin Mock writes in City Lab. “None of those arguments have quite panned out for black people, as here we are in 2019 still struggling with these issues. The question is whether Jay-Z has learned from the failures of the past or if he’s simply employing more of the same.”

Needless to say, if Jay Z is going to catch heat for aligning himself with the NFL there is little reason Shakira wouldn’t. 

If You’ve Been On Twitter Recently You Might Be Wondering If J Balvin Is #Canceled And Here’s Why

Entertainment

If You’ve Been On Twitter Recently You Might Be Wondering If J Balvin Is #Canceled And Here’s Why

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

Spend any amount of time on the Internet – which let’s be honest, we’re all probably spending too much time these days – and you’re aware that #cancelculture is very much a thing.

Just earlier this week, #CardiBIsOverParty was trending once again on Twitter, as people tried calling her out for things she’s already previously been canceled for and apologized for. And while cancel culture serves a valuable purpose in making sure that those who have made mistakes are held accountable, to some the movement is going too far.

Cancel culture’s latest target is J Balvin. The Colombian artist appeared to throw some shade at Shakira and Twitter was quick to pounce.

J Balvin was “canceled” on Twitter after seemingly shading Shakira during a recent interview.

J Balvin is the latest celeb to fall victim to the “is over party” trend on Twitter, when on Thursday he was the trend across Twitter. Shakira fans came for him hard after it appeared the ‘Mi gente’ singer threw shade at her during an interview with Billboard to discuss collaborating with Maluma on the Black Eyed Peas album.

At one point, the interviewer asks BEP whether they had to be “more flexible” with Maluma or J Balvin, to which will.i.am responds, “I had to be the most flexible with Shakira.”

J Balvin immediately breaks out into a fit of laughter before will.i.am goes on to explain what he meant. “But I learned from her,” he clarifies,  “because the way she does it is like a school.”

He then describes the process by which Shakira operates when working with other artists: “Number one, fix number one like this, here are my notes. And then for number two, I would really like to address this on number two, and then for number three…”

At that point, J Balvin seems to get shady, “And then you go back to one, then go to seven, then go to 10, then go to 20, and then go back to number one. One is the one.”

Everyone chuckled at his remark, but the “Mi Gente” hit-maker continued to laugh long after the others had stopped.

Will.i.am seemed to try and diffuse any tension by going into further detail on his process for creating the album: “The process of this record was being open-minded, being patient, everybody has a different style of working. I produce, I write, I come up with ideas so you have to slow down… This is the first time we collaborated with these many people, these many vocalists, I had to be flexible. I had to be a f**king noodle on this record.’

It’s safe to say that Shakira’s fans weren’t having any of it.

Almost immediately, #JBalvinIsOverParty was trending on Twitter, even in Colombia – home of both J Balvin and Shakira.

One fan fumed: ‘I’m not one to usually jump on a canceling but #JBalvinIsOverParty is so valid. He literally tried to come for Shakira when let’s be real Shakira is the reason Colombia has an international music scene at all and his comments were straight-up sexist. Respect the queen, peasant.’

Although, J Balvin did make a surprise guest appearance alongside Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, the pair of Colombian superstars have never actually collaborated on a song together. So many were wondering on what authority Balvin was even speaking.

The Colores hitmaker is yet to respond to the fan backlash.

Some on Twitter pointed out the hard work Shakira has put in on behalf of Latino musicians, the glass ceilings she’s had to push through.

Let’s be real: Shakira is one of the biggest names ever in Latino music, punto. There’s no disputing that. She has helped pave the way for so many Latino artists who have come after her. So it’s quite easy to see why Shakira fans were so upset by Balvin’s comments.

Before Maluma and Bad Bunny and J Balvin, there was Shakira. And she’s still one of the biggest names in music, being known around the world. In fact, few musicians can claim such international relevance as the Colombian hitmaker.

Shakira helped make Latino music part of the world’s mainstream culture.

To this date, Shakira is one of the most successful Latina artists in history. She was one of the biggest Latin artists to successfully crossover into the world of English music as well and has gone on to win no less than three Grammy Awards, four MTV Video Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, and six Guinness World Records.

In 2009, Billboard listed her as the Top Female Latin Artist of the Decade. Having sold more than 75 million records worldwide, Shakira remains one of the world’s best-selling music artists. She is ranked as the most-streamed Latin artist on Spotify and became one of only three female artists to have two YouTube videos exceeding two billion views. 

So yea, she deserves respect. But what do you think? Does Balvin deserve to be canceled?

The Three Men Accused Of Chasing And Shooting Ahmaud Arbery Have Been Indicted On Murder Charges

Things That Matter

The Three Men Accused Of Chasing And Shooting Ahmaud Arbery Have Been Indicted On Murder Charges

Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The death of Ahmaud Arbery helped spur much of the anger and pain that have led to the massive movement for justice and racial equality across the nation. His death, at the hand of three white men who chased him while he jogged, has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues as they shout “Black Lives Matter!”

The 25-year-old Black man was gunned down after a struggle between him and three white men who had accused him of being responsible for a string of burglaries, despite having zero evidence.

The three men implicated in Arbery’s murder have been charged and indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including felony murder.

The men are facing nine charges, including felony murder.

The three men who have been accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was on a jog through his neighborhood, were indicted on Wednesday by a grand jury on nine counts.

Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan, were charged in May in the Feb. 23 killing of Arbery. But a grand jury was convened to officially indict the three men.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the indictment on nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. 

“This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud. Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case, and today was no exception,” Holmes said in a statement. 

“We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues.”

They had already been charged with murder but because of the Coronavirus, they hadn’t officially been indicted.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The Coronavirus pandemic had slowed legal proceedings across the country. A grand jury is required to meet in person and, therefore, they weren’t able to convene until after June 12, once the state lifted stay-at-home measures.

What’s the difference between being charged and indicted?

Prosecutors in the U.S. have a lot of discretion when it comes to deciding on how to proceed with a criminal case. For one, a prosecutor themselves can examine the evidence (usually supplied by police officers) and decide to issues charges against a defendant.

Or they can present the evidence to a grand jury, who will decide if the state can bring charges against the defendant. There is little difference for the person charged with the crime but the process is different.

Arbery’s killing angered the nation and the botched investigation following his murder proved the need for police reform.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Gregory and Travis McMichaels, a father and son, had told police there had been break-ins in the neighborhood and that they began to chase Arbery in their truck when they saw him “hauling ass.”

They heavily armed themselves before hopping in their pickup truck and chasing down Arbery. They confronted him alongside a wooded road and, after a struggle with a shotgun, Arbery was shot by Travis.

No arrests were immediately made in the killing of the young Black man, and outrage intensified when cellphone video of the pursuit and the shooting was publicly released.

And the resulting investigation proved the need for extensive police reforms.

The handling of the case has been marred with conflicts of interest, since one of the men involved is a former investigator for the District Attorney’s office and a former police officer. Several law enforcement officials have had to recuse themselves from the case because of their connections to the McMichael family.

Only after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in to investigate, were the suspects finally brought in on murder charges. Many, including leading politicians on both sides of the aisle, issued harsh statements condemning the manner in which Arbery’s murder was being handled.

Despite the frustration, Arbery’s family has held strong and has remained committed to making sure that his killers are held accountable for their actions, and that justice is served.