Jennifer Lopez and Shakira just pulled a Super Bowl performance that is being considered the perhaps the greatest, most iconic, and unforgettable performance in the history of Super Bowl.
Apart from the glitz and glam of the latino divas, their pitch-perfect performance was lauded by fans and critics alike. But the Super Bowl 2020 show marks another remarkable event: a sharp and powerful political statement made by Jennifer Lopez on the stage.
Jennifer Lopez’s performance not only challenged the detention camps made for the children of American immigrants, but also addressed the discrimination of Puerto Rico by holding up an American flag that reversed to be a Puerto Rican flag.
Shakira was at her best that we have ever seen in years
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2020
Entry of Shakira in a fiery red costume, with her signature dance routine and belting vocals at the rhythm of her popular songs: She Wolf, Wherever Whenever, Waka Waka. The unforgettable moment for Shakira was when she picked up an electric guitar to play killer riffs on her 2014 single “Empire”.
Jennifer Lopez took a dig at the Oscar jury for not nominating her
Jennifer Lopez also took a dig at the Oscar jury for not nominating her for her impeccable performance in the film “Hustlers” as a stripper who challenged the establishment. She performed her moves on a dancing pole while singing a slow version of “Waiting For Tonight.”
On the stage, there were children in cages
In the final section of the performance, Jennifer Lopez’s daughter Emme Muñiz sang “Let’s Get Loud” along with a choir of children. Some of the children performed inside cages, a statement against the American detention camps where children of the American immigrants are kidnapped by ICE and locked under inhumane conditions while the parents are exiled from the USA.
Jennifer Lopez’s Puerto Rican flag while the children sing “Born in the USA”
Then Jennifer Lopez walked onto the stage with a feathered American flag that reversed to be a Puerto Rican flag. At the same time, Emme Muñiz and the children started singing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” – a nod to Jennifer Lopez who was born in USA to Puerto Rican parents. But also a reinforcement of the idea that Puerto Ricans are Americans and they deserve the same rights and same treatment as every other American.
Note that despite being a US territory, Puerto Rican citizens don’t get to vote for US Congress or the Presidential elections. It was heavily reflected during the Hurricane Maria when US government allocated measly funds for Puerto Rico, and Trump callously tossed toilet papers into the crowd.
Watch the highlights of JLo’s performance here:
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2020
JLo and Shakira’s performances stand in stark contrast to campaign ads of billionaires Trump and Bloomberg that aired on the same night
Such political statement by pop stars on the Super Bowl become even more significant, considering that it was the same night when billionaires Donald Trump and Mike Bloomberg aired presidential campaign ads. Bloomberg has spent about a quarter billion dollars on his campaign till now – showing that billionaires would rather spend billions to avoid paying taxes rather than just paying their taxes like an honest human being.
NFL has been a hub of controversies, as Black artists have boycotted it in the past
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s powerful performance at Super Bowl brings a refreshing element, as many artists have boycotted NFL in the past because of its discrimination against Colin Kaepernick – the quarterback who had kneeled during the US national anthem to protest against the murders of Black people by Police. Colin was never signed again by any other team in NFL, and then Rihanna and Cardi B along with Jay-Z broke their ties with NFL.
Later, Jay-Z signed up with NFL and then kickstarted the social justice initiative for NFL, for which they decided to invite two of the greatest Latin artists on the stage.
Super Bowl performances in the past have drawn controversy. In 2016, Beyoncé performed the song “Formation” as a reference to the movement Black Lives Matter. The dancers with her were wearing black berets, quite akin to the members of Black Panther Party. This riled up the racist conservatives of USA, and then Super Bowl started avoiding political artists and chose Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Maroon 5 as their headliners in the coming years.
Will there be controversy about JLo and Shakira’s performance as well?
Miami is a city whose 70% population is Hispanic, and Jennifer Lopez and Shakira chose this venue to showcase the Latin pride and cultural diversity – especially at such a time when minorities and immigrants in USA are being demonized and discriminated against by the state and capitalism.
It just shows us that by using the glamorous semblance of pop music, powerful messages can be spread that reach the masses in the most effective way. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira definitely deserve all the praise for doing this.
Whether there will be any controversy about Jennifer Lopez’s performance, only time will tell.
You can watch their full performance here:
Featured Image Courtesy: Gimp