Was there any doubt that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira would deliver last night in Miami at the Super Bowl? Nobody’s ever accused either of coasting. And, frankly, women at their level, women of colour at their level, wouldn’t have gotten to that level had they coasted.
Their halftime show was an exuberant, joyful, and political expression of identity, culture, and belonging – because, yes, celebration can be a political act, especially when simply existing is a political act.
It was not an accident that the final act of JLo and Shaki’s halftime show opened with JLo’s 11 year old daughter, Emme, singing from a cage, after a wide shot of other girls placed in cages, switching then to an overhead shot of a circle attached to a cross, the symbol of the woman, before her mother joined her on stage, wrapped in a feather flag, shouting “LET’S GET LOUD!” followed by…
…before opening up the garment to reveal the flag of Puerto Rico on the inside and Emme declaring “Born in the USA!”
This was beautifully not subtle.
And it was never meant to be. JLo and Shakira are the Super Bowl’s first two Latinx headliners and in the days leading up to the event, both were unmistakably clear about their intention to represent. For Shakira, that meant acknowledging both her Latin background and her Lebanese roots.
Chiming in because I know everyone will be making jokes about this for days — this is a popular Arab tradition, called zaghrouta, used to express joy at celebrations. In the melting pot that is Miami, you could not have picked a better Super Bowl act and this was a lovely touch. https://t.co/q1H9l8UpQ5— Lulu Ramadan (@luluramadan) February 3, 2020
Of course that wasn’t spontaneous either. After all, these two women rehearsed the sh-t out that performance. They knew where the camera would be at every second. Shaki planned that. Shaki knew that the people who know would pick up on it, and share it, and educate about it. She’s a huge global star – arguably bigger around the world than JLo, considering her appeal internationally, with 140 million records sold through her career – and so you might say that she was doing the Super Bowl a favour just by showing up, because there are people on the planet who wouldn’t have paid attention otherwise.
And let’s not forget the work in the looks! That hair had to hold up through all the hair tosses. The makeup had to stay perfect through all the choreo and the heat of the pyro. The costumes had to NOT MOVE from all the gyrating, hip thrusting, ass shaking, and THE STAGE SLIDING:
With that camera angle? You know what the risk is. And you have to know that nothing is f-cking going anywhere in order to be able to giv’er like that without a problem.
All of that would have been tested and retested and locked in for days if not weeks ahead of time. This is the work. Hair and makeup for JLo alone took ten hours – in between last minute rehearsals and tweaking and other adjustments and a LOT of bronzer, LOL.
I’m not mad at the bronzer. As her makeup artist said, those lights are harsh. And you have to remember, the Super Bowl is not set up for a concert, it’s set up for a sporting event. Turning that field over for a 12-14 minute performance that can work for a halftime show with that much fire and energy to match these two women, while not compromising the tech needed for the game, is the highest level of production.
That stage! When she was on the pole and it looked like the bottom off the circle fell away into a waterfall and limitless possibility? Not even Monica from Cheer would have any notes here.
Yours in gossip,