October 28, 2020

Super Bowl LIV: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira exhibit Latin power before 100 million Americans | Culture


It was 14 minutes of “pure rage”, according to criticism of Variety. “One of the most energetic and entertaining shows in the Super Bowl in years,” he wrote The Hollywood Reporter. “The glorious polyglot sound of America in 2020,” said the critic of Los Angeles Times. “Great,” he said Rolling stone. The overwhelming Jennifer Lopez and Shakira show this Sunday in the Super Bowl has generated greatest impact on the national conversation of the United States that victory of the Kansas City Chiefs about the San Francisco 49ers. For the first time, two Latin artists had the stage of the television event of the year for themselves. What 102 million Americans saw was not a rarity of minorities, but a successful representation of the reality of their own country, at a time in addition to special need for Latinos.

With the passing of the hours, the artistic qualification (Shakira and Lopez split up time in equal parts and made a medley of his best known songs) began to give way to other details. Lopez’s success Let’s get Loud (let’s make noise, in free translation) began by his 11-year-old daughter Emme. Shakira played the drums. Then Lopez appeared to have the flags of Puerto Rico and the United States and shouted, “Latinos!” The song already had another meaning at that time. In case someone wasn’t catching him, Emme started singing Born in the USAfrom Bruce Springsteen.

People of Hispanic heritage in the United States add up to 50 million people and are reaching their greatest milestones at the time of the largest reaction of the conservative United States against this community. The election of Donald Trump as president is perhaps the greatest expression of contempt for the children and grandchildren of Latin American immigrants in decades. Trump has not ceased to make evident that tension every day of his presidency. At the same time, Spanish music triumphs among young people, Mexican directors sweep the Oscars and the political star of the moment is a young congresswoman from the same culture New York than Jennifer Lopez.

That Let’s get loud What remains for the history of television also comes in full campaign of mobilization of the Latino vote for the November elections. The numbers say for years that Latinos are a group of voters who alone can decide elections. Abandoned by Republicans on a very sensitive issue such as immigration, which affects their families and friends, Latino voters favor Democrats. However, the lack of mobilization is a constant source of frustration for political strategists. This is the year that has to change.


Jennifer Lopez, wrapped in a Puerto Rican flag in the performance. On the left, his daughter Emme.



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Jennifer Lopez, wrapped in a Puerto Rican flag in the performance. On the left, his daughter Emme. AFP

“That two Latinas do this in this country and at this moment, it gives us a lot of power,” Lopez said in a press conference to present the Show. “I am very proud to help establish that message and move it forward.” Shakira added that “it is a very important moment for the Latino community in this country.” “I think the Super Bowl is a very American event, the most American thing there is. It is a pleasure to see that it will be a reminder of the heritage of this country, which is an inheritance of diversity, ”said Shakira. “This show will have a very important social connotation,” said the Colombian.

The show was produced by Roc Nation, the company of rap mogul Jay-Z. The NFL league went to Jay-Z after criticism for hiring Maroon 5, a group of pure white pop, for last year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, where a new hip hop pops. The commission was for Jay-Z’s company to help the NFL be more in tune with the American reality. Basically, to realize things like hip hop is music mainstream from the United States years ago. In an interview with The New York Times, Roc Nation executive Juan Perez said: “Someone has to kick the door and get the first shot. We are that company. ”

If for a show in Atlan´ta it would have been convenient to bring hip hop stars, for that of Miami (70% of Hispanic heritage population), Jay-Z looked for two Latin superstars. Jay Z had personally asked Gloria Estefan to also go out in acting, as she revealed herself in an interview with ET. The singer, a true symbol of the Latin elite of Miami as well as a mentor to Shakira, rejected the offer because it involves a lot of stress and months of preparation. “I have done it twice. I think the two women who are going to do it are perfect to represent Miami. ” Estefan was the first Latina to perform in the Super Bowl, in 1992 and 1999.

The first clash of American popular music made by Latinos with Anglo-Saxon culture on television can be dated in October 1968. A blind young Puerto Rican with a huge voice called José Feliciano was invited to sing the national anthem in the fifth game of the Series Baseball World Cups in Detroit. Feliciano with his guitar which is considered the first free version of the anthem, without the martial air that was normally given to him, sung in front of the general public.

“There were veterans throwing shoes against television, they wanted to deport me,” Feliciano said in the documentary The Latin Explosion: A New America (HBO, 2015). After that, Feliciano says, he was banned on the radio and his career went uphill. Detroit invited Feliciano again to play the anthem in 2010, and asked him to do it exactly the same, in his Latin-folk style, in memory of that television milestone. The country was a completely different one.

That documentary tried to reflect how Latin culture, mainly through music, had gone from having glimpses in American general culture from time to time (the version of La Bamba of Los Lobos in the eighties, Conga from Miami Sound Machine in the nineties, Macarena from Los del Río, Crazy life by Ricky Martin), to become a central part of that culture, with artists competing on the charts and on the radio formulas with their own rhythms, without imitating American pop, and singing in Spanish.

The phenomenon has exploded in the last five years with urban music from Puerto Rico and Colombia, which has merged with hip hop and today is music mainstream United States dance. Together with López and Shakira, the two main representatives of this genre appeared on the Super Bowl stage at the moment: the Puerto Rican Bad Bunny and the Colombian J Balvin. What was seen on stage was not a Latin curiosity, they were four of the best known artists in the United States institutes. The exotic were not them. The strangers are the Americans who still think that Sunday was a spectacle of minorities.

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