If anyone had any doubts that Latinos are the most important source of music in the United States, yesterday Shakira and Jennifer Lopez gave a master class to clear them up.
During the Super Bowl halftime show, the Colombian and the Niuyorican divided the stage in a show of strength and female empowerment that summarizes the last years of the world’s cultural history.
Between hits in English, symbols of her identity and a powerful display of virtuosity, Shakira took us along with her dancers through genres such as rock, Arabic dance, cumbia, reggaeton and champeta, the traditional dance of Medellín.
From “Whenever Whenever” to “Waka Waka,” the Colombian didn’t miss a single one of her influences.
Beyond the scenery and the wonderful play of lights, Shakira’s presence on stage articulated Jennifer Lopez’s entrance in the same way her two musical careers do: highlighting the best of Latin American culture and the deep roots it has in American culture.
Flaunting her newfound skills in pole dance, Jennifer Lopez also reviewed her hits and got the audience dancing to her stunning Latin pop, from “Jenny from the Block” to her impeccable salsa steps.
In less than 20 minutes, the two singers summed up the history of American music, and with all the power in the world.
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Quiero agradecer a mi Colombia por darme el mapalé, la champeta, la salsa y los ritmos afro caribeños que me han permitido realizar el Super Bowl que desde hace más de una década soñé. I want to thank Colombia for giving me the mapalé, the champeta, the salsa and the Afro-Caribbean rhythms that allowed me to create the Super Bowl Halftime Show that I dreamed of more than a decade ago.
Few people know that the passage from Jazz to Rock n’ Roll, the genesis of music on our continent, always had a Latin beat at its core. If it had not been for musicians like Mario Balza, Machito, and Tito Puente, that famous mambo of the black and white screen, the amplified guitars of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry would never have been derived in the psychedelia of a 1969 Woodstock.
Honoring the musical revolution that Cubans brought with them to states like Miami — just remember that Gloria Estefan was the first Latina to perform at a Super Bowl halftime — American culture owes a great deal to Latinos.
And in a political moment as hot as the one we’re going through right now, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s performance couldn’t be timelier.
The figure of women has come to the fore in a country led by open misogyny and the clearest representation of patriarchy and white privilege, where trifles like the age of the singers or unrealistic rivalries dominate the headlines before we even can take time to look at the details.
Likewise, the syncretism demonstrated by both artists was the latest sign that Latinos are anything but monolithic.
Between Shakira’s zaghrouta — a celebratory gesture used among Arabs that went viral among memes and jokes — and Jennifer Lopez’s glam Puerto Rican flag, the Super Bowl halftime show during Donald Trump’s reelection year was the best show of resistance.