During Sunday’s Pepsi Super Bowl LIV halftime show in Miami Gardens, Florida,the two stars delivered a set complete with pole-dancing, a children’s choir and a meme-able tongue moment.
Online, the performance sparked debate: Was it empowering to watch two women of color over 40 performing in an often-provocative way? Or had we reverted back to a pre-#MeToo moment of objectifying women?
“The @SuperBowl halftime show was just a bad strip show,” tweeted @AUBeard. “We have had so much positive discussion about not treating women like sexual objects, then they go & do this. You can’t cry that women need to be treated better then support this display of sexual objectifying”
“I’m no prude, but watching it with my 7yo daughter and 11yo son was really uncomfortable,” @JLMezz wrote.
User @kevindelong added: “I am embarrassed for my kids to watch this halftime show… what the hell,” he wrote. “Stripper poles, crotch, and rear end shots…. no dignity. #SuperBowl #HalftimeShow shame on you Jennifer Lopez & Shakira”
Others, like @catherineshakes, argued it was “OK for grown women to be sexual and fabulous.”
“pole dancing is HARD and takes IMMENSE AMOUNTS OF STRENGTH,” added @brittneyzivcsak. “it’s empowering and honestly something i admired from JLO tonight.”
“Jennifer Lopez showing off that Hustlers pole dance training, letting the Academy know that they done messed up,” wrote user @dory_jackson.
The dance-heavy show earned praise from many, including former halftime headliner Lady Gaga.
“[email protected] and @shakira and all the special guests were so incredible!!!” wrote the singer, who performed during the 2017 Super Bowl. “I danced and smiled the whole time. Such powerful sexy women!!!! On camera and off!!!!! Love you beautiful sexy talented women”
Kim Kardashian also sung Shakira and Lopez’s praises.
“They really shut it down!!!!” she wrote. “Congrats on that amazing SuperBowl Halftime Show”
“Bachelorette” contestant Tyler Cameron also shared his excitement, writing, “JLo and Shakira have me sweating.”
One moment in particular that caught the attention of social media was when Shakira, after crowd-surfing to her hit “Hips Don’t Lie,” turned to the camera and flashed her tongue while letting out a high-pitched tone.
As soon as the moment aired, memes started rolling in.
“Shakira and JLo laughing in the face of ageism in America during the #SuperBowlLIV halftime show,” wrote user @Lili_Rebel, along with a video of the moment. “Take that haters.”
“Harry Potter whenever he sees a snake and starts speaking parseltongue,” wrote @entrelada_ along with the clip.
User @luluramadan saw the moment as a nod to an “Arab tradition.”
“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,” she wrote. “In the melting pot that is Miami, you could not have picked a better Super Bowl act and this was a lovely touch.”
At the beginning of the song “Let’s Get Loud,” which featured a children’s chorus, the camera panned to show kids sitting under lighted arches.
User @tom_moore_104 saw this moment as a “necessary statement” about children detained at the border.
“Props to Jlo, Shakira and/or the choreographer for the necessary statement with Latino children in cages,” he wrote, along with a picture of the staging.
Lopez’s 11-year-old daughter Emme Maribel Muñiz also took the stage to sing, showing strong vocals run in the family.
“Why JLo daughter Emme sound better than her?!?” wrote user @nicole_perez1.
User @Roxana1912 said, “the Latina girl in me felt very empowered and represented” by the show.
“During this #pepsihalftimeshow I felt the urge of going upstairs and waking up my half-Peruvian daughters so they could see the Latin power that runs through their veins,” she wrote.
User @chelleinla commended the Super Bowl for showing two “Latina women CRUSHING the halftime show in 2020.”
“This is my America,” she added.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff