2020’s Super Bowl half time show was a spectacular of sparkle, nostalgic hits, talent and stamina from legendary pop stars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. But, the performance also seemed to send a message to the USA’s president.
But as well as outstanding entertainment factor, many choices throughout the show seemed to nod at some of America, and the world’s, most ignored or marginalised groups of people, giving a voice to those society oppresses.
Although both women are phenomenally successful and at the peak of their careers, Twitter users have commented on the symbolism of such a high-profile platform being given to two Latina women over 40.
One Twitter user wrote: “Jennifer Lopez (50) looked fantastic as did Shakira (43 and it was her birthday!) Let’s hear it for older women!”
Another highlighted how often women in the entertainment industry feel opportunities wane when they reach that age, writing: “I feel…….perhaps we should let women over the age of 40 do things more often.”
But as well as being a show of feminism, their performance focused heavily on their Latina backgrounds as a celebration of diversity, and shone a spotlight on the devastating circumstances many migrant families are facing currently in the US.
During a Good Morning America interview before the show, Lopez and Shakira commented on how important it was to them to create an “all-inclusive party, a party that integrates cultures and diversity.”
Continuing: “I feel truly honoured to be representing so many people out there. Women, Latinas, and people of any ages. I think that J.Lo and I are here redefining paradigms about age, about race, about background. It doesn’t really matter where you’re from, how old you are … what matters is what you have to say. And we’re here, and we have a lot of stuff to say.”
After a nostalgic mash-up of both star’s biggest hits throughout their careers, the final few minutes of the performance were reserved to make that statement and deliver a message that everyone is welcome in America.
With the lights ebbing into darkness, nearly 20 glowing cages appeared in front of the stage, each one with a child sat in the centre of it. The powerful image looked to be a reference to the detainment centres separating so many migrant children from their families.
As Lopez’s daughter and a host of other young girls joined the women on stage, they sang the singer’s hit Let’s Get Loud, which in this instance felt like an anthem for those who have been silenced.
As Lopez walked out onto the stage wearing the Puerto Rican flag, she shouted “Latinos!” which was contrasted by her 11-year-old singing the song Born in the USA.
Social media users have commented on how powerful the moment was, with Deanna Munoz, founder of the Latino Arts Foundation posting an image of the mother and daughter to her Instagram, writing: “Her daughter singing Born in the USA. Her mama wearing the Puerto Rican flag and the American flag. I feel that in my soul, We are ALL seen in that moment.”
The show closed just before the two women exuberantly sang a few lines of Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), which felt like an incredible end to such a high energy show that honoured a plethora of different cultures, sending a message that American people stand in solidarity with them.
Watch the performance for yourself below: