What The Latino Representation At Super Bowl LIV Really Meant

Image via AP Photo

Latinx and Anglo communities were brought together on one of America’s biggest nights, something that hasn’t been done since 1992 with Gloria Estefan’s halftime performance.

The 54th annual Super Bowl’s Pepsi Halftime Show included headliners Shakira and Jennifer Lopez and featured fellow Latin artists, J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

The superstar duo performed classic hits “She Wolf,” “Whenever, Wherever,” “Chantaje” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Lopez also performed some of her own hit singles, “Jenny from the Block,” “Ain’t It Funny” and “On the Floor.”

Guests were brought on to perform hits “I Like It,” and Lopez’s daughter Emme Maribel Muñiz took the stage to belt out “Let’s Get Loud.”

Cultural Representation

Both Shakira and J. Lo represented their culture — Colombian and Puerto Rican, respectively — through the songs performed and hidden elements throughout the show.

“I think it’s super important for two Latina women to be headlining the Super Bowl,” Lopez told the Los Angeles Times. “Especially right now in Trump’s America.”

Both artists paid homage to their backgrounds through traditions including dances such as the champeta and the mapalé. Shakira brought dancers from her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia to perform and assist in teaching others dances influenced by the Afro-Colombian culture.

Shakira continued her homage by also representing her paternal Lebanese roots through the usage of rope, belly dancing and a celebratory zagahrouta.

“Hemos escalado el Kilimanjaro y los latinos hemos hecho historia esta noche. No lo hubiéramos logrado sin ustedes. We Latinos climbed Kilimanjaro and made history tonight and we couldn’t have done it without all of you,” Shakira posted to her Instagram following the performance.

Hidden Messages

Muñiz, alongside the Children’s Voice Chorus, performed “Let’s Get Loud” and “Born in the USA.”

The children were sang in stylized cage-like structures, which represented the incarceration of asylum seekers and children at the border.

“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great,” Lopez posted on Instagram.

Lopez performed one number with what many believed was an American flag before she fully revealed it as the Puerto Rican flag. This was to demonstrate the colonization of Puerto Rico and its current state, but to show that it is its own independent country under American Rule.

What It All Means for the Latinx Community

“The Latinos are going through a difficult time in the US right now,” said Shakira at the Pepsi Halftime Show news conference. “It’s very important for us to convey a message of unity and also to show what a relevant force the Latin community is in this country: how much we have to offer, our idiosyncrasies, our culture.”

Many across various social media platforms and news stations came out about the impact it had on them.


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