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Lindsay Thompson / Her Campus
Culture > Entertainment

How and Why Shakira and J.Lo Went Above and Beyond at the Halftime Show

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

This past Superbowl Sunday was a day to go down in history for the Kansas City Chiefs as they earned their first win since 1970. However, all the praise to the boys on the field was not reciprocated to the ladies that killed the halftime show, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. 

Upon hearing that Shakira and J. Lo were to perform at the show, fans’ excitement ensued all around. Performances of their most popular songs such as ‘On the Floor’ or ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ were highly anticipated, but for the Latinx community this announcement was monumental and jump started a conversation worth having. In 54 years the Super Bowl has never featured a Latinx performer and both J.Lo and Shakira did not shy away from delivering the appropriate level of Latin feel. In recent years, performances from Lady Gaga and Beyonce proved that the halftime show could be a chance to make a political statement, to invoke a movement. Following in their footsteps, Shakira and J.Lo took the same approach. And yet with several strides towards creating a progressive and accepting society we always seem to take a few steps back. 

Shakira opened up the show with an intense choreographed number performing one of her older hits, ‘She Wolf’.  Later she graced the stage with her performance of Ojos Asi, a song in spanish with arabic melodies and rhythms that highlights her native lebanese roots. In just 6 minutes, Shakira effortlessly proves herself as a singer, dancer, guitarist, and drummer. All of which apparently wasn’t enough for those who disfavored the performance, who lowered its standard to that of a “pre-gladiator prostitute performance”.

It’s no shock that Shakira and J.Lo confidently express their sexuality to the world, which evidently is an issue that many viewers had with the show. And yet last year’s performance by Adam Levine (where a majority of the time his shirt was completely off) was not a problem for those who always seem to be inclined to make sexist comments. The double standard present between last year and this year’s performance speaks to how women despite their talents and effort, are still brought to a level that isn’t even equal but rather increasingly below their male counterparts. Not only is this a clear case of sexism but the underlying racist tendencies by antagonists of the show presented themselves, as expected by the major political statement J. Lo introduced in her portion of the show.

J. Lo revisited some of her most iconic hits, repping her New York upbringing with ‘Jenny from the Block’ and later performed one of her classics, ‘On the Floor’. Not long after, J Lo’s daughter, Emme Muniz delivered the most direct political statement as she sang in a round structure resembling a cage…children in cages…sound familiar? She belted her song ‘Let’s Get Loud’ and later her rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the Usa’ and waved a double-sided cape with Puerto Rican and United States flags, and in this moment her message did get loud, very loud. 

Her message; the dismissal of Puerto Rican struggles is a dismissal of all of our country’s struggles alike. We are all humans deserving of a helping hand when the going gets tough. And among the many human rights issues, the dehumanization of the people at the border will speak to what we stand for as a country for years to come, an image that will be hard to erase. 

The controversy surrounding the performance was fueled by the singers’ cry for change, a concept that we have yet to develop a familiarity with or a mutual respect for. The efforts of J. Lo and Shakira to unite not only a stadium divided between Chiefs and 49ers fans but a whole country divided on today’s social justice issues, with their political statements, should have been applauded, not critiqued about what they were wearing. These women offered so much to the show, making a statement in the 15 minutes they were alloted and deserved to be recognized. But the response to their efforts represents what it’s like being a woman or minority living in the United States of America today.