Shakira and J-Lo Shine at Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show

Promotional image for this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance from Wikimedia Commons

Alex Goodlive
Arts & Entertainment Staff Writer

Apparently there was a football game going on before and after one of the greatest concerts in recent history.

The Super Bowl halftime show has been bringing talented artists to perform for years, but some performances are better than others. Though last year’s show featured Maroon 5, it was considered lackluster as Adam Levine did little more than sing and take off his shirt. This year’s performance was far better since Shakira and Jennifer Lopez injected personality and culture onto the stage, celebrating Latin American and Arab roots.

“During those six minutes I have and the six minutes you [Lopez] have, we want to be able to take people on a journey that shows people who we are artistically and where we’ve been all these years,” Shakira said in an interview before the Super Bowl.

The show began with Shakira delivering “She Wolf” while belly dancing and thrusting her body back and forth on stage surrounded by backup dancers before picking up a glittery red guitar (just like her outfit) as the lights dimmed and rocking the stadium with “Empire.” I personally did not know Shakira could play guitar, but I’m here for it.

Shakira’s dancing, such as when she belly danced while holding a rope around her wrists, reflected both her Arabic heritage and the fact that she is unashamed of herself and her body, but some bemoaned that her and J-Lo’s performance and outfits were inappropriate, especially for children watching. I, however, would agree with the argument that their performance was about empowerment and that if men can be proud of their bodies, then women can too. Besides, it’s the job of the parents to decide if a show is appropriate for their kid, not the artists performing.

After performing Cardi B’s “I Like It” and “Chantaje” with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, where Shakira danced alongside a few trumpeters, Shakira crowd surfed as she delivered “Hips Don’t Lie.” This was followed by J-Lo’s dramatic entry, which began with her beloved “Jenny From the Block.” Lopez was bold as ever, looking and sounding like her early 2000s self. Like much of Shakira’s dancing, J-Lo’s use of a pole that she clung to and spun around while dancers moved around her in revealing costumes was called inappropriate by some, but this dance added energy and suspense to her act.

A message of inclusivity became apparent when Lopez was joined by a children’s choir (and Shakira on the drums!) singing “Born in the USA” as she rocked a cape. On one side, the U.S. flag was displayed, but she then revealed that on the other side of her cape was the Puerto Rican flag, which is where her parents came from. It’s a perfect touch for a show about embracing unity and being proud of who you are.

At the end, Shakira and Lopez thanked the cheering audience. Perhaps we should be thanking them.

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