Shakira Is Famously Colombian-Lebanese And Her ‘Tongue Moment’ Meant A Lot For Middle Eastern Representation

Last night Shakira and Jennifer Lopez gave us one of the most iconic halftime show performances we’ve seen in a long time. Not only did they become the first Latinas to headline a Superbowl show, they also brought out the whole Latino Gang —Puerto Rican trap super star Bad Bunny, Colombian reggaeton king J Balvin, and J.Lo’s own little girl, Emme. The show was filled with subtle cultural statements —and one of them became a viral moment. Here’s what Shakira’s tongue flicking gesture actually means. 

Sunday night’s half time show was nothing short of iconic. 

Shakira and JLo performed their biggest hits, including “Waka Waka,” “Let’s get Loud,” and a few others. They brought Bad Bunny on stage to perform Cardi B’s “I Like It,” and his own hit “Callaita,” anchored by Shak. J Balvin also joined in on the spectacle with his massive hit “Mi Gente.”

The Grammy Award-winner was just launching into her hit song “Hips Don’t Lie” when the viral moment happened. 

Shakira leaned down toward one of the cameras at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fl, stuck out her tongue and let out a high-pitched, warbling cry that instantly set the internet in flames. 

Viewers were quick to ridicule the singer, and the memes started rolling out. 

Countless memes likened her to a turkey, a petulant toddler and characters from Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants”, among a host of other unflattering comparisons. But a few of Shakira’s true fans pointed out the obvious; the sound was a nod to her Lebanese heritage. 

If you’ve followed Shakira’s career since the late 90s you might remember that the artist is inspired by her Middle Eastern roots.

Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, to a Colombian mother and Lebanese father, the singer has drawn on her diverse cultural heritage to create her signature style —both vocally and stylistically. I mean come on, it’s her Lebanese background what inspired her belly-dancing and hip-swaying moves —duh.  

Shakira’s widely celebrated performance was full of nods to her Colombian and Lebanese heritage.

The seemingly random gesture actually carried deep cultural significance. To those familiar with Middle Eastern culture, the sound was akin to a traditional Arabic expression of joy and celebration called a zaghrouta. It was also interpreted as a reference to the world-famous Carnaval de Barranquilla, which is held in Shakira’s hometown in Colombia.

In the beginning of the 2000s Rolling Stone magazine wrote about what made Shakira stand out

“The stylistic breadth of Shakira’s music – elements of folk, Middle Eastern and traditional Latin styles over a foundation of rock and pop – gave her a degree of credibility the American teen queens lacked.” Shakira’s breakout single, which many Latinx millennials might remember from the 90s, was ‘Ojos Así’, a song heavily inspired by the middle eastern world —The Colombian even sings in Arabic. 

Her Latin sound has always been spiced with Middle Eastern elements and Colombia’s African heritage.

The salsa beats in her 2006 megahit “Hips Don’t Lie” are reggaeton-inspired, and it also has an Afrocolombian element to it. The singer she still featured a belly dancing arab-esque number in the video. The same mixture of cultures has been fed into countless of the artists biggest hits, like ‘Tortura,’ ‘Yo soy Gitana,’ ‘Whenever Wherever’, and the list goes on. Her own vocal style was also born from this melting-pot of cultures. Shakira has noted the importance of her sense of “mixed ethnicity,” saying “I am a fusion. That’s my persona. I’m a fusion between black and white, between pop and rock, between cultures – between my Lebanese father and my mother’s Spanish blood, the Colombian folklore and Arab dance…”

Shakira’s music stems from years of listening to Anglo and U.S. rock acts like Led Zeppelin, The Cure, The Beatles and Nirvana.

“I was so in love with that rock sound,” Shakira explained to BMI in 2002, “but at the same time because my father is of 100 percent Lebanese descent, I am devoted to Arabic tastes and sounds. Somehow, I’m a fusion of all of those passions and my music is a fusion of elements that I can make coexist in the same place, in one song.”

Fans praised her for including such a wide array of elements in the halftime performance. 

One person wrote, “In the melting pot that is Miami, you could not have picked a better Super Bowl act and this was a lovely touch.” Another fan tweeted: “Shakira sung in Arabic, Spanish, English. She played the guitar and the drums. She danced champeta, pop, salsa, reggaeton, son de negro, mapalé and arab dance.” The twitter user added, “And her 2-year-old songs are top 10 on USA iTunes. SHAKIRA, SHAKIRA.” 

Shakira has long been an icon for Middle Eastern Americans, especially the ones with Latinx backgrounds too.

“Shakira was all we had for the longest time,” one person tweeted. “Every Middle Eastern American, especially Lebanese, pointed to Shakira as the one entertainer with massive global appeal and popularity. To have our culture and our rhythms represented up there, even in the smallest way, is massive.”

Beyond the spectacle of glittery costumes, laser lights and high-energy dancing, the show was an impactful 15-minute-long homage to the singers’ roots. 

Shakira peppered her performance with Middle Eastern music and belly dancing while also incorporating elements of Latin American culture and traditional Afro Colombian and Latino dances. Jennifer Lopez, born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, sang her chart-topping anthem “Jenny From the Block” and later wore the U.S. territory’s flag as a reversible cape featuring the flag of Puerto Rico on the other face of it.

The show was filled with significant, yet subtle, cultural and political statements. 

While performing a remix of “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)” and “Let’s Get Loud,” many young singers appeared on stage in circular cages—a subtle reference, but a possible nod to the thousands of children, most from Latin American countries, who have been detained at the border due to the migratory crisis and current administration’s family separation policy. The Puerto Rican flag flashed as the iconic Springsteen ‘Born In The USA’ song played, as if to remind viewers that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.

Lopez and Shakira’s performance was primarily a celebration of Latin American music and their own lengthy careers, but the subtle references to politics might serve as a guide for what the NFL will be like in the Jay Z era.

I Have $150k in Debt — Here’s What Financial Experts Told Me To Do

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I Have $150k in Debt — Here’s What Financial Experts Told Me To Do

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Money is a topic that is difficult to talk about. Traditionally, society has told us that there are three things that we should not talk about in polite company: religion, politics, and money. Well, politics seems to be the only thing anyone talks about these days. As for religion, well, I’m of the “to each their own” policy. But money is something that we often still ignore — especially when it comes to frank discussions about debt.

Nobody likes to admit that they have debt. Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, or paying off cars, most of us have something that we’re keeping quiet about. According to CNBC, 70 percent of college students are graduating with a “significant amount of loans” which total $1.5 trillion in debt for the over 44 million Americans who have student loan debt. In fact, a recent survey revealed that two-thirds of millennials have at least $10,000 in student debt and more than a third admitted to over $30,000 in debt, according to Inc.

Even worse, 42 percent of those that had more than $30,000 in debt were women and 11 percent of millennials have over $100,000 in student loan debt. Unsurprisingly, credit card debt is actually even higher for millennials (at 46 percent) and car loans come in just behind student loans (at 34 percent). Then there’s also medical debt to think about, as well as the 20 percent of millennials who actually have a mortgage.

Some of us, like me, have debt in all of the categories.

When my husband and I met and moved in together just six weeks into our relationship, we did it because we were in love and knew we wanted to be together for the long haul.


However, what we didn’t know at the time (and came to learn very quickly) is that we both came with a heaping amount of debt. Now, two and a half years into our relationship and nine months into our marriage, I can tell you that our debt has only increased: Collectively, we have around $150,000 in debt — about $100k of that in student loans, $40k in car loans, and another $10k in credit cards and medical bills. Add to that the fact that we just bought our first house and, well, our financial situation has gotten a bit more complicated.

It’s not easy to talk about finances, and it’s especially not an easy thing to do with someone you love. Sadly, money is often cited as a common cause of marriages falling apart — which is precisely why my husband and I are trying to tackle these issues sooner than later. I know that we won’t get out of debt any time soon, but having a secure financial plan is a good way to step into our future, together. So, shortly, after getting married, we decided to speak with some financial experts about how exactly to tackle our $150k in debt… WITHOUT driving each other crazy or stopping some of our other personal goals (like traveling together or having kids in the next couple of years).

Nora Dunn, a former Certified Financial Planner and blogger behind the financially savvy travel site, The Professional Hobo, told us that a lot of it depends on what we as a couple are earning and what our goals are. Dunn advised that my husband and I evaluate the importance of each of our goals. Was buying a house more important than taking vacation? How much did we expect to spend on a house based on the market in our area? According to her, it was all about taking an ‘everything in moderation’ plan, where we would examine our take-home income and expenses, and then divide our disposable income between different goals, depending on how our goals are prioritized.

After some discussion, we decided that prioritizing goals, and dividing our income accordingly, definitely seemed like a good place to start. In fact, Shana Bickel, CPA and Financial Coach, mirrored that advice when she told me that “it is not for me to tell the couple how to prioritize their financial goals.” The important thing, she says, is “to identify and get very clear about those goals and then develop a plan to pay off debt while saving for a home and allowing travel that makes sense for their financial health and well being.”

Another financial expert took a more straightforward approach.


“Sell those cars!” said Lynne Somerman and The Wiser Miser. “If you’ve got big financial goals like this, there’s no situation where I can recommend $40K in car loans when you can buy a reliable used vehicle for $10K. Even assuming you still need two cars, that’s $30K that you’ve now got towards a down payment. After that, it would depend on the type and interest rates on the student loans. If they’re private loans, go aggressively after them. If the interest is higher than about 4-5% on the student loans, they’d be my next priority. If their income is high enough, you could do both here.”

However, David Rae, a Certified Financial Planner based in Los Angeles, has a more realistic approach.

“Get those cars paid off and drive them forever!” he advised. “You don’t need a new car every two or three years. My car is paid off, and I plan to drive it forever. Each of those car payments is like a trip to Europe each year. Would you rather have a brand new car or a trip to Europe?”

He’s definitely right about that, which is why we have made paying off our cars our #2 priority (after paying off our credit cards), since we’d also like to save for an international trip in the near future. Rae also reminds me that, although student loans are important, so is saving for retirement.

“The student loans are going to take a long time to pay off. Get serious about them, but make sure to contribute to your retirement at least enough to get a company match,” he said. “This will be like free money from your boss, and the government will give you break on your taxes.”

Meanwhile, Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, a money coach who runs The Fiscal Femme, said that it is all about opportunity cost.

“We can only use or spend each dollar we have once, no matter how much or little money we have,” she reminds me. “How can we use it in a way that will maximize our joy per dollar in the shorter and long-term? It’s about looking at each option and choosing consciously. If a couple is paying down their debt and that’s really important to them but they also want to travel, they might decide to let go of expenses in other areas to make that work. What expenses aren’t bringing them much joy? Would they rather live in a less expensive apartment for the time being so that they have more money to travel? When we take a look at each expense annually (including our bills) it’s much easier to see where our money is going and decide if we want to allocate it any differently.”

Taking a look at our overall finances, my husband and I were able to use this advice to devise some financial goals, set some priorities, create a payment plan, and figure out what we want to save for.


It took some serious negotiating but we came away with a clearer picture of our finances. It’s not going to be easy, mind you. Having debt as a couple is difficult, but unfortunately, something that almost all of us face these days. If you don’t have student loans, then you might have a car payment or credit card debt or medical bills from that time before ACA when you didn’t have health insurance and ended up in the hospital (guilty!). But ultimately, the best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to your finances, whether you are coupled up or not, is to do the work to figure it out.

As Rae put it, “Get serious about your finances now — it won’t get easier when you have kids. You may make more money but you will be busier and tired. Parenting is hard. Just saying.”

20 Classic Latino Baby Names to Consider


20 Classic Latino Baby Names to Consider

What is the most adorable battle of sexes that you are ever going to come across? I will give you the answer. It is an expecting couple cribbing, crying and fighting each other on choosing the best baby names. It is hard for a man not to be a fan of Latin American names if he is a football aficionado. Given that we are living in times that shall go down in history books as those that were owned by a Lionel Messi or a Neymar Junior, the names of football stars represent just the tip of the iceberg of human nomenclature in Latin America. Of course, you would not like to discuss footballer names if you have a girlfriend or a wife that has an aversion to football. But then, there are still some amazing female Latino names that pop up when you think of the long list of glitterati in the domains of entertainment, literature, spirituality, and music. Which Latino baby names would you and your partner choose?

Here we present you a compelling list of what we thought are the most common yet powerful names that epitomize the beauty of Latin America’s rich heritage and culture. We start with 10 Latino baby names for boys and then take you through another set of 10 Latino baby names for girls. Take a look.

Latino Baby Names for Boys


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@Jenny Silverstone / Pinterest

First on our list is the name Santiago. A direct adaptation of the name of Saint James, in Latin, the name spells spiritual enlightenment, purity, and blissfulness in one breath. Beyond the spiritual connection, Santiago is also the capital of Chile.


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@Baby Photos / Facebook

Second on our list of 20 classic Latino names is Mateo. Mateo is a name derived from the Spanish language and literally translates into the phrase of God “gift of God.” The name works really well if you and your life partner consider the boy to be a gift from Almighty.


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@queenz.kat / Pinterest

Third, on our list is a name that is rooted in ancient history. Alejandro is the Spanish variant of the original Greek name Alexander. The name has lived since ages and continues to remind people of what is capable through resolute action.

Third, on our list is a name that is rooted in ancient history. Alejandro is the Spanish variant of the original Greek name Alexander. The name has lived since ages and continues to remind people of what is capable through resolute action.


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@thebump / Pinterest

Fourth on our list of the best Latino names for baby boys is one that reflects wisdom. Diego is a Spanish name that refers to a teacher. If you and your partner look forward to having a baby boy that can one day evolve into an erudite person, this name certainly fits the bill like no other.


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@thebump / Pinterest

Fifth on our list of the best Latino names for baby boys is a name that represents the qualities of leadership and the royalty of a lion in the jungle. The name Leo is derived from the Latin language and means a lion. There are similar variants of the name across different languages in the world. The German name Leopold refers to people with the virtues of bravery and valor.


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@rosiesradrama / Instagram

Sixth on our list is a name that has its roots in Italian history and is universally associated with virtues of large-heartedness, love, and peace. The name Valentino derives itself from the Italian variant of the Latin Valentinus that has also seen versions in other languages.


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@thebump / Instagram

The seventh name unfortunately for wives and girlfriends again reflects back on football. Remember the Mexican footballer Adolfo Bautista. The name Bautista also has a high spiritual dimension in Christianity. Derived from the Spanish language the name refers to someone who has been baptized.


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@healthybabies / Twitter

Eighth in the list is a name that again has its roots in Spanish and refers to the crown. You got that guys and gals. Esteban refers to the crown, the ornament that embellishes the heads of the few powerful and privileged ones, i.e. the kings.


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@healthybabies / Twitter

Ninth on our list is the name Gonzales that means someone that saves from harm. If you couples out there look forward to having a baby boy that can grow up to be the savior of the people in the world, then this name that has its roots in Spanish is just for you.


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@healthybabies / Twitter

Tenth on our list of names is Angel. Highly popular across Latin American countries like Mexico and Argentina, the name refers to one that is God sent or divine.

Girl Names


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@KateJusko / Pinterest

First in the list of girl names in Latin is Veronica. The name traces its roots to the Bible and refers to the maiden that had given her handkerchief to Christ. A popular name in Latin America, it is essentially derived from Spanish.


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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Second, on our list of baby girl names is Valentia.  A typical Latin name, it symbolizes virtues of bravery and courage and is very popular in South America.


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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Third on our list of baby girl names is Amada. A Spanish name that means loved or beloved, it is perfect for your cute baby girl if you believe in the power of love.


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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Third on our list of baby girl names is Amada. A Spanish name that means loved or beloved, it is perfect for your cute baby girl if you believe in the power of love.


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@BabyGirl / Pinterest

Fourth on our list of baby names is the name Angelica, the feminine version of the name Angel. Representing the same virtues as the name of her male counterpart, the name derives itself from the Latin language.


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@BabyGirl / Pinterest

Fifth on our list of names for baby girls is a name with Roman roots, Antonia. The feminine version of Antony, the name means someone who is invaluable and commendable.


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@AfrinShaikh / Pinterest

Sixth on the list of names for your princess is the name Susanita, the Latin adaptation of the English name Suzana. Remember the lyrics of that immortal love song “Suzana I am crazy loving you.”


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@AfrinShaikh /Pinterest

Seventh on the list blends names like Emilia and Amalia and is rooted in the Latin language. Amelia is a popular name for baby girls in Latin America and refers to virtues of industriousness and enterprise. It can also refer to someone who is the vanguard of something or people.


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@ErikaEskamilla / Pinterest

Eighth on the list is a name that is an adaptation of Elizabeth and refers to one that is devoted to God. A popular name for girls in Latin America, the name reflects the widespread culture of the English, Portuguese and French royals having an Elizabeth in their courts.


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Pinterest@ Erika Eskamilla

Ninth on our list of baby girl names is Gabriela, the feminine version of Gabriel in Hebrew that literally translates into one that God gives strength to. It fits perfectly for parents looking for some divine inspiration from the name of Biblical saints.


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Last on the list of baby names for girls and also in this collective of 20 classic Latino names is one that is inspired by sportspersons and Olympic champions, the most heard of being Martina Hingis. Martina is a Latin name for girls and has become synonymous with virtues of excellence in sports.

On a final note, you and your partner can continue to fight on all the petty issues of life ranging from football matches disturbing your schedules for candlelight dinners to the time that women take in front of the mirror to adorn themselves. Yet, these 20 classic Latino names should ideally provide you some meeting ground and serve the purpose of reminding you of what stands to be achieved for long lasting world peace! Cheers to your parenthood and choosing the right name for your baby.Toggle