After much backlash, Super Bowl LIV is still on — and halftime show performer Jennifer Lopez is sharing her thoughts about the opportunity. In a recent interview with Variety, the 50-year-old boricua pop star noted that headlining the halftime show is “a dream come true” for her and that she and her co-headliner, Shakira, are “both excited to have been given the opportunity to do that, as two Latin women, in Miami.” Their excitement, however, seems to arrive despite racial and political conflicts surrounding the NFL.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality against people of color, the NFL infamously took a stand against the former 49ers quarterback. Now that Kaepernick remains teamless, many artists — from Rihanna to Cardi B — refused offers to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in his defense. Yet for Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, the profits of the opportunity seemed to outweigh its questionable ethics. Lopez hopes that their involvement will be perceived as a celebration for the Latinx community, instead.
“I think it’s important in this day and age for two Latin women to be standing on that stage,” she said in her Variety interview. “When Latinos are being treated a certain way in this country, or looked at a certain way — to show that we have a really specific and beautiful culture and worth and value, and we bring something to this country that’s necessary.”
While Lopez is likely referencing Donald Trump’s immigration policies – a topic she has spoken out about on in the past – her comments do little to acknowledge the experience of Black athletes like Kaepernick, let alone recognize the existence of Afro-Latinos in the first place. To lean on the “specific and beautiful culture and worth and value” myths of pan-Latinidad, is to set Black identity apart from the conversation altogether.
Dodging this discussion, Lopez opted for universal idealism. “That night, I want it to be a celebration of who we are. All of us, because we’re in this together,” she said, “I want to bring everybody together in that moment.” Everyone, except for those who oppose the NFL’s partial tactics, apparently.
Let’s see if JLo and Shakira will take a stand at the halftime show itself — but at this rate, we’re not holding our breath on it.