Last night, while the U.S. tuned into the biggest night in football, Pope Francis used the moment to speak about the importance of sports, rules, and unification in a poignant message seen by millions.
“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace. By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest —and in a healthy way — we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity for the world. Thank you! #superbowl”
Did people like it? Let’s just say most felt #blessed.
You know it's gonna be a good game when the Pope blesses it❤ #SuperBowl
The J.Lo and Shakira halftime show at Super Bowl LIV was electric, powerful, empowering, and contagious. The two Latina performers gave Super Bowl viewers and audience the show of a lifetime. Latin pride was at the forefront of this year’s halftime show and there was also a strong political message because Latinos live in terrifying times.
J.Lo and Shakira used part of their halftime show to give a voice to the voiceless in the Latino and immigrant communities.
During J.Lo’s performance, her daughter Emme started “Let’s Get Loud” and the imagery struck a nerve with some viewers. Litter in front of the stage were children in orbed cages. Many have speculated that the children are a nod at the Trump administration’s immigration policies that forced children into cages and separated families.
The mother and daughter duo then covered “Born In The USA” by Bruce Springsteen and J.Lo flashed a Puerto Rican flag.
The Puerto Rican people, who are Americans, have been let down by the current administration as they try to recover from Hurricane Maria. Now, the island is recovering from devastating earthquakes. The Trump administration has actively cut funding to Medicaid in Puerto Rico as more and more people are reliant on the assistance.
J.Lo shared a video on Instagram right before the performance and included a rallying call to all Latinas and young girls around the world.
The global pop star wanted to use her performance at Super Bowl LIV performance to give people a chance to raise their voices. In a time where children are in cages, women are losing healthcare rights, and vulnerable communities are under attack around the world, these moments matter.
The Super Bowl LIV halftime show’s message is resonating far and wide.
The image of Emme “locked” in a cage while singing “Let’s Get Loud” caught everyone’s attention. Her voice, accompanied by a choir of children behind her, gave viewers a striking visual of children in cages.
Some pointed to other elements of the performance that referenced the administration’s treatment of migrants.
There were so many elements of the half time show that people pointed to as reminiscent of the policies devastating migrant families. The lights behind the performers interlocked in the pattern of a chainlink fence we have all seen along the border.
Some people were very much bothered by the strong Latino representation at the Super Bowl.
Pobercitos. Who knew that strong Latinas on stage showing their brown bodies and Latin dancing would trigger them?
Some people are showing the double standard that exists among performers at the Super Bowl.
Women, especially Black and brown women, are often treated to this double standard. Somehow, dancing as a brown or Black woman is overly sexual when white men are not subjected to the same scrutiny.
To top it off, let’s not forget that the Super Bowl was in Miami, a Latino enclave and the halftime performance was representative of that culture.
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.
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.
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