The Super Bowl has come and gone. The victory parade for the Kansas City Chiefs has taken place. The players have retired for their much-earned post-season break. But even though the Super Bowl is over, everyone on social media is talking about the scandalous half time performance.
I’m not a professional dancer, and I haven’t performed live on a stage in front of millions. But my limited exposure to the performing world makes me admire the performances by the two singers and their crews. The skill, versatility, and sharpness exhibited in the show were beyond amazing. The level of physical fitness, coordination, and, of course, the flavor was admirable. The female artists presented a beautiful potpourri of performance, where both artists showed their combined talents in both dance and music.
Yes to Mom Power!
As a mom getting closer to 40, and all I can say is, “Thank you.” The performance overturned stereotypes. It changed the image of moms everywhere and reminded us that nothing should stop us from working hard towards our goals. And when we reach them, we should be loud and celebrate. JLo’s pole dancing was a tribute to the work and training that went into one of her latest roles on the big screen. As for Shakira, she has broken all frontiers with her music and dance. Some may remember that, in the early ’90s, Shakira was body-shamed for looking fat while belly dancing during a performance at a beauty pageant in Colombia. During this year’s half-time show, she showed us that nothing should stop us and that we live for ourselves, and she looked amazing while doing it.
The Super Bowl half-time show celebrated diversity—and highlighted that it matters.
Moving on from the performance, let’s talk about what really matters, at least to me, a Latina immigrant. Two powerful and highly successful women used the stage to promote diversity. They celebrated the mixed culture that thrives throughout the Americas. Through salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, champeta, hip hop, rock, pop, Mapalé and other rhythms, JLo and Shakira’s performance illustrated how well different cultures can work together. We are that: the mix of all the cultures—white, brown and black together. And just one spectacular 13-minute show that made you want to go out and dance highlighted how amazing this is.
But why was this important to highlight during the Super Bowl? The Super Bowl was hosted by the city of Miami, the most Latino centric place in the USA. The Latino market is also a potential goldmine of new NFL fans. According to the NFL, around nine percent of its audience is Latino and they are making efforts to promote the league in Mexico, where it counts with over 20 million fans. With this in mind, it is no surprise that about one-third of the songs played during the show were in Spanish.
So, what is the message? If you ask me, and many other proud Latinos, the message is that we count. That we are part of this country. That we have generations of Latinos who are born in US soil, who speak two languages and are proud of the mixed identity. That our voices should be heard, that we should get loud, for us and for our children. That moving forward we have to think about our place in history. That nothing justifies holding children in cages just because they want to live better lives in the U.S., as JLo’s daughter so perfectly sung. We are better than that, and we must speak up on whatever platform we are given. We are, after all, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.