Let’s Get Loud!

Shakira and Jennifer López Steal NFL Super Bowl Half-Time Show.

Shakira and Jennifer López stirred up the Super Bowl. /NFL Super Bowl Half-Time Show screen grab

Never read so much ‘splainin about a Super Bowl Half-Time Show. The show, starring Jennifer López and Shakira, was a super hit, but one that somehow requires lots of explanation for non-Latinos. Really, people?

It was entertainment. It was a show. A shapeshifting show. A shake’em up show. Okay, one with messages. And with fabulous results for the NFL. For TV ratings. For Latinos. All of which needed a boost.

In just 24 hours the 2020 half-time show has generated 121 million results on Google’s search engine. Last year’s show – a full 12 months ago – has garnered 133 million hits, which means this year’s show may easily surpass that figure. TV ratings were up to 102 million viewers, up a fraction from 2019.

Had it been billed as three hours of entertainment with “a little bit of football on the side,” the results might have been huge.

It was a big hit for the National Football League because it changed the subject away from last year’s dud of a show, away from head injuries or kneeling – although Jay-Z, Beyonce and their daughter Blue Ivy remained seated during the national anthem. The half-time demonstrated that the NFL can still put on a really good show.

For Latinos it was jaw-dropping because it was joyful, happy, upbeat. It showcased two superstar Latinas, sharing the stage, sharing the moment, proud of their heritages. We could forget for a moment about how some have come to despise Latinos, bear their teeth at us, wish to banish us from U.S. soil, even if we were born here.

We saw two Latina performers at the top of their game, flashing their beauty, talent and athleticism. To paraphrase Dolly Parton, who once said, “It takes a lot of time and money to look this cheap, honey,” well, it takes a lot of time, money and exercise workouts to look like Shakira or JLo at any age.

/NFL Super Bowl Half-Time Show screen grab

Shakira danced the Champeta, a Colombian dance with African roots, as well as the South African mapete. (She was the performer at the 2010 World Cup Final held in South Africa. Audience: 531 million, according to FIFA.) She reached for her Lebanese heritage by once again demonstrating that her belly-dancing hips don’t lie and that tongue-wagging ululation is the bomb.

/NFL Super Bowl Half-Time Show screen grab

JLo slayed with the cape turned Puerto Rican flag which was unfurled to the tune of Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the USA.” People, especially Puerto Ricans, cannot stop talking about it.

Was the outer U.S. flag smothering the inner Puerto Rican flag on the cape? For earthquake- and hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, stressed to the breaking point as the population tries to recover with promised but as-yet-undelivered federal aid, what could that possibly mean?

Were you bothered by children in cages? Where have we seen that before? Oh snap! Along the border with Mexico, where undocumented children have been unceremoniously snatched from their parents and held in filthy conditions, including chain-link cages. Please note: the half-time children were better dressed, better fed, and they got paid. JLo’s daughter Emme was exhorting all to “let’s get loud” about this.

The booty-shaking grand finale was earth shattering, a figurative flipping of the bird to folks who when they think of us, if they think of us, see only criminals and rapists, and some very nice people.


/NFL Super Bowl Half-Time screen grab

That’s my ‘splanation and I’m sticking with it.

María Padilla, Editor

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