On the floor, the Tremendous Bowl halftime present by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira was a celebration: exultant voices, shaking hips in glittery costumes, irresistible world rhythms. They danced and belted via a quick-cutting megamix of their hits, sweetly and determinedly uniting flirtatious sexiness with sheer mastery of rhythm, melody and movement.
But the halftime present was additionally a no-nonsense affirmation of Latin delight and cultural range in a political local weather the place immigrants and American Latinos have been broadly demonized. The explosive ultimate section started with Lopez’s daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz, and a choir of kids — a few of them in lighted cages — singing Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” and a snippet of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the united statesA.,” as Lopez appeared wrapped in a feathered American flag cape that reversed to a Puerto Rican flag. It seemed like recognition for each Puerto Rico and for the Dreamers, the American-born kids of undocumented immigrants.
Shakira and Lopez have been Latina superwomen, smiling pop conquistadoras backed by phalanxes of dancers. They sang, shimmied and completely outshone the temporary appearances by their friends, each reggaeton stars: Dangerous Bunny, from Puerto Rico, and J Balvin, from Colombia.
Each Shakira, on her 43rd birthday, and Lopez, 50, are multicultural success tales. Lopez was born within the Bronx however has reveled in her Puerto Rican roots, recording hits in Spanish and English whereas additionally thriving as an actress and a producer. (Her movie and tv firm is pointedly named Nuyorican Productions.) Shakira made her means from Colombia to worldwide pop stardom, drawing on globally assorted sources — the Americas, Africa, Europe and (flaunting her Lebanese ancestry) the Center East — for songs about ardour and uplift.
Each of them sing most frequently about romance and need; each of them use songs and movies to insist that even with stardom, they’re nonetheless simply “Jenny From the Block” or a Colombian girl-next-door who dances barefoot on the street. Each are additionally amongst pop’s most savvy beat-seekers, discovering and mixing rhythms previous and new — merengue, rumba, cumbia, samba, paseo, rock, disco, hip-house, reggaeton — to maintain followers dancing now.
In some methods it was a no brainer to e-book two multimillion-selling Latinas for a halftime present in Miami, the place town’s inhabitants is 70 % Hispanic. It was additionally a form of truce.
Lopez and Shakira carried out a yr after many musicians spurned the N.F.L. over its remedy of Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who protested racism by kneeling throughout the pregame nationwide anthem and was not signed to a group afterward. Final yr, Jay-Z’s leisure firm, Roc Nation, entered a partnership with the N.F.L., together with advising on performers for the halftime present, and joined the N.F.L.’s social justice initiative, Encourage Change, which this yr included a Tremendous Bowl spot a few police capturing. Shakira is a Roc Nation consumer; Lopez is just not. However reserving them steered the halftime present away from black-and-white racial tensions and towards the fun of movement and seduction.
The N.F.L.’s pregame publicity had introduced that there could be extra songs than in any earlier halftime present — however no more time than the allotted 12 minutes. With two headliners, that meant cramming a complete profession into six minutes: extra like biggest hooks than biggest hits.
The upside was that every section — Shakira first, then Lopez, then collectively — was a kaleidoscope of rhythms, an indication of how a lot Latin (and Afro-Latin) music has contributed to American pop. The draw back was that particular person songs barely registered, although Shakira let herself linger over two of her finest blockbusters: “Each time, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” She confirmed off the interconnections of Latin music by turning “Chantaje,” a reggaeton tune, into an old-school rumba and pushing “Hips Don’t Lie” towards samba; she dared to crowd-surf with out lacking a cue. She additionally invoked Arabic and later African rhythms, unwilling to restrict herself to at least one hemisphere.
Lopez positioned herself as a New Yorker from the beginning, arriving on a skyscraper spire to sing “Jenny From the Block” and dealing via strenuous dance routines and sporting skintight leather-based after which even much less. She perched on a pole, most likely to remind followers of her position in “Hustlers” (for which she was snubbed by the Oscars); she did a slide on her knees that rivaled Bruce Springsteen’s stunt in 2009; she flaunted her well-known rump. Lopez leaned on the dance-club a part of her catalog of hits — a reminder that disco, too, has Latin roots.
And “Let’s Get Loud” — mingled with Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” some Congolese guitar and a few New York mambo — reached out to a wider world and extra critical considerations than a one-night social gathering. This halftime present was euphoria with a goal.