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The Rumors Were True: Jennifer Lopez And Shakira Will Perform At The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Jennifer Lopez and Sharkia will join forces as Latinx powerhouses to perform at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show. The Halftime show currently holds a precarious place in music history. Once a career milestone for seasoned musicians to showcase their illustrious discographies, the NFL’s anti-Black Lives Matter stance has garnered extensive criticism for any artists who affiliate themselves with the organization. 

While Beyoncé was praised for her Black Panther-inspired Super Bowl performance in 2016. By 2018 Jay Z was pressuring artists to refuse to perform at the event in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick who had been fired for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest anti-blackness. Cardi B and Rihanna notably turned down the offer to perform. Meanwhile, Maroon 5 and Travis Scott were admonished on social media for doing the Halftime Show last year.

However, in 2019, Jay Z shocked fans when he announced a Roc Nation partnership with the NFL. The rapper was met with a massive backlash and functionally labeled a sellout. The NFL’s anti-blackness cast a troubling shadow over what should be a celebratory moment for Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who have earned the iconic status the annual show typically bestows on its performers. It will be up to viewers to decide if the NFL’s prestige is worth what it used to be. Moreover, it will be interesting to see how two prominent non-black Latinx women are contextualized in conversations about anti-blackness, the NFL, and capitalism. 

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira to perform at Super Bowl LIV

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira announced on Twitter they would be sharing the stage of the Super Bowl LIV Pepsi Halftime show 

“Ever since I saw Diana Ross fly off into the sky at the Halftime Show, I dreamed of performing at the Super Bowl,” Lopez said in a statement. “And now it’s made even more special not only because it’s the NFL’s 100th anniversary, but also because I am performing with a fellow Latina. I can’t wait to show what us girls can do on the world’s biggest stage.”

The nod to Ross and Latinx solidarity and woman power was a nice touch. The two talented artists seem excited to be working together — finally.

“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 – and to top it off, on my birthday!” Shakira added. “This is a true American dream and we are going to bring the show of a lifetime!”

J Lo rumors swirled for months

Earlier this month rumors swirled that Jennifer Lopez, riding the high of her critically acclaimed Hustlers performance, would take on the Halftime show in 2020. Super Bowl LIV will be held in Miami, Florida which is practically a carnal scream for a Latinx artist to take the slot. Lopez’s fiancé Alex Rodriguez grew up in the city, so many felt she would be the perfect pick. 

When Hoda Kotb asked the “Get Right” singer on SiriumXM if she would be doing the show, Lopez simply began to giggle and responded, “I don’t know.” 

In July, Lopez implied that the decision wasn’t entirely up to her but rather the NFL. 

“Yeah, [I’ve] thought about the Super Bowl and it’s in Miami. It’s a big deal, but we’ll see,” Lopez told Entertainment Tonight in July. “They make their own decisions over there [at the NFL].”

While the addition of Shakira comes as a surprise to fans, the pairing has many hyped to see what feels like a historic performance (at a very weird time). 

A precarious time for the Halftime Show

The NFL has faced a new onslaught of criticism that seems to dirty anyone who affiliates with the organization. After pushing quarterback Kaepernick out of the league for quietly acknowledging racism in America, it was revealed many team owners are donors to the racist Trump administration. This is all the more egregious when it is considered that largely black players risk injury and permanent damage to entertain white audiences and play for white team owners. 

Jay Z bears the brunt of the backlash for changing his anti-NFL stance as soon as money entered the equation when he partnered Roc Nation with the organization and veiling the opportunity as a social justice effort. 

Nevertheless, this is Jay Z’s hypocrisy, not Shakira’s or Jennifer Lopez’s — still, it only highlights the sound of crickets heard round the world when many non-black Latinxs are asked to show up for black folks, many of whom are Latinx too. This is what happens when racism is exposed in cultural institutions. It’s not easy to navigate and it is all the more difficult to know how to feel. 

One thing is for sure Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be joining the ranks of musical legends like Beyoncé, Prince, Paul McCartney, and Madonna — and there is no question of whether that is where they rightfully belong. 

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