Jennifer Lopez and Shakira to honour Kobe Bryant in their dual Hispanic Super Bowl performance: 'It's empowering'
Given the climate of aggravated insensitivity towards minorities in the United States, the two Latino singers hope to inspire a strong message of togetherness through their performance. Demi Lovato will also be performing the National Anthem before the beginning of the game
As Jennifer Lopez and Shakira gear up for their Super Bowl concert on Sunday night, February 2, they are also aware that the duo will be making history with their first-ever "Hispanic Headliners" performance at the game's halftime show.
"Two Latinas doing this at this time in this country... it's just very empowering for us," said Lopez during a news conference ahead of the show. "I'm very proud to be able to help set and push for that message." Shakira agreed with her and said, "The Latinos are going through a difficult time in the U.S. right now," said the 'Hips Don't Lie' singer. "It's very important for us to convey a message of unity."
Given the current political climate for people whose first language is Spanish, and President Trump's radical stance against illegal immigrants (he wanted to build a wall between the United States and Mexico & increase jail terms for undocumented immigrants), this feels like a huge step forward for a nation that is still struggling to prove to itself that racial tensions and embittered attitudes towards minorities are a thing of the past.
Since Jennifer Lopez was born to Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx of New York City, and Shakira is from Colombia, both pop divas want to prove a point to the watching American people - that this nation truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Speaking of which, Demi Lovato, whose father is Mexican, will be performing at the Super Bowl this year as well. She will be singing the National Anthem before the start of the game. The ubiquitous Cuban-American rapper Pitbull is also scheduled to be a part of the pre-Super Bowl festivities this weekend. So the musical performances provided by these super-talented entertainers are guaranteed to provide some solace and hope for Hispanic people everywhere, on some level at least.
“We’re both excited to have been given the opportunity to do that, as two Latin women, in Miami,” said Lopez, talking about her Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira. “I think it’s important in this day and age for two Latin women to be standing on that stage — when Latinos are being treated a certain way in this country or looked at a certain way — to show that we have a really specific and beautiful culture and worth and value, and we bring something to this country that’s necessary.”
Shakira echoed her sentiments, saying that she wanted to inspire little girls around the world, given that she was just a little girl from Barranquilla, Colombia, herself, now performing on the world's biggest stage. "J Lo and I are redefining paradigms about age, about race, about the background here," said the singer. "It really doesn’t matter where you’re from, how old you are or where you come from. What matters is what you have to say. We’re here, and we have a lot of stuff to say."
The Latina duo also said that they would be saluting the late great Kobe Bryant, who tragically died last week in a helicopter crash, during their halftime show. “Life is so fragile, and that’s why we have to try to live every moment as intensely as we can. I think we will all be remembering Kobe on Sunday, and we’ll be celebrating life and celebrating diversity in this country,” Shakira told reporters. “I’m sure he’d be very proud to see the message we are trying to convey on stage that day.”
This halftime show will also go a long way in repairing the NFL's reputation too. In 2019, Rihanna reportedly turned down a chance to do the Super Bowl halftime show in order to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. The former 49ers QB had been blackballed from the league in 2017 for his controversial stance to kneel during the National Anthem - it was a silent protest that referenced police brutality against racial minorities, but it soon snowballed out of control.
Hoping to do some damage control, the NFL promptly roped in Jay-Z's Roc Nation to be the producers for any future halftime shows - this time around, with such forward-thinking people involved, it's certain to be different.