On Sunday evening, two United States football teams came head to head to serve as fillers for the gaps between desperate commercials at the price of more than $5 million a pop and a two-for-one express joint concert from reinas Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Shaki and J.Lo knew the pressure was on and they delivered.
They are the first two Latinas to headline the halftime show together. As we noted earlier last year, Gloria Estefan was the first to ever do it (sola, por supuesto) in 1992. Shakira’s mentor paved the way for her and her counterpart and now, in celebration of the beginning of a new year and decade (we’ve all collectively decided January didn’t count), J.Lo and Shaki did the same for generations to come.
J.Lo used the spotlight to show off her excellent pole dancing skills (once again putting the Oscars to shame) and pass the performing baton to her daughter, Emme. The 11-year-old shared her talent on stage alongside mom with a unique spin on “Let’s Get Loud,” in which the Nuyorican mother of two whipped out the Puerto Rican flag in all its glory by way of (faux?) fur and came as close to a political message as the night would get with children in lit-up cages.
“Born in the U.S.A,” Emme bounced off her mother’s vocals throughout the bridge.
In the fall, long-standing suspicions of the two as possible contenders for the headliner slot were confirmed. Then, the weeks and days leading up to Super Bowl LIV were full of additional announcements that pandered to our community as the NFL became aware of our presence and sought to appeal to all of our interests. Los Tigres Del Norte were part of the festivities, Mr. 305 made an appearance, Demi Lovato followed up last week’s Grammys performance with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem and, in a truly unexpected last-minute update, Bad Bunny and J Balvin were popped into the blender as well. It was an organic, beautiful – albeit extremely lacking in color – assortment of picks.
“I want this to be a huge celebration and a big party. An inclusive party for all of us,” Shakira said on Instagram earlier today. Although it was a huge celebration, it was lacking in the latter.
Tonight was indisputably a display of Latinx excellence. Many also considered it a missed opportunity and disappointment. Those who strictly live on either side of the fence between those sentences can agree that the other side’s opinion is warranted and true. While J.Lo and Shaki had an opportunity to include artists of color and/or acknowledge the disappointment of their Black Latinx fans after they said ‘yes’ to having their names on the bill, they chose to do neither.
Yet, when it comes to how this moment will go down in history, Shakira is optimistic.
“It means that we are relevant… that things have to change. That they are changing in many ways, and [that] the Latino community is a vital and important force, in this country and around the world. We have a lot to offer and a lot to contribute,” she said.
Watch the full run of this year’s halftime show below, and – in case you were wondering – Kansas City took home the trophy tonight.
See if you can spot one or all of the following: J Balvin’s Air 1 Jordan collab sneakers. In an unfortunate oversight, we got a close-up of Shakira’s microphone, which was off. Shakira dancing champeta with dozens of spirited dancers. Bad Bunny and Shakira putting a trumpet-carried salsa twist on “Chantaje” and “Callaita.” Balvin getting as close to a little perreo with J.Lo as he could without A-Rod kicking his a*s. Shakira playing the drums and, last but not least, a Cardi-B-less take on “I Like It.” Plus, Cardi B herself in the audience (not pictured, but if ya didn’t know now ya know).