Latina stars JLo and Shakira say Super Bowl halftime performance will be 'message of unity'

“Two Latinas doing this in this country at this time is just very empowering to us,” JLo said.
Image: NFL: Super Bowl LIV-Halftime Talent Show Press Conference
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira hold a press conference at the Hilton Miami Downtown on Jan. 30, 2020, in Miami.Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

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By Erika Angulo

MIAMI — Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will make double history Sunday during the Super Bowl's 12-minute halftime extravaganza — it's the first time two Latinas star on that stage and the first time the two global superstars perform together.

Before that, Gloria Estefan has been the only Latina to headline the famous halftime show.

Speaking to reporters from around the world Thursday at a hotel in Miami, JLo and Shakira called their upcoming performance a very important moment for U.S. Latinos.

Both women said they see their performance as an opportunity to convey a message of strength for the community and for women. JLo said she will be thinking about her daughter and other girls watching the two women on stage.

“Two Latinas doing this in this country at this time is just very empowering to us,” Lopez, a mother of twins, said. “It’s very important for us to convey a message of unity and also to show what a relevant force the Latin community is in this country,” Shakira added.

The halftime show, the women say, will have an empowering message that honors their Latino roots; the performance will also pay tribute to NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Miami's stunning rise in recent decades as a cultural hub and a global destination has been credited to Latinos who have settled there in large numbers over the last half century, from Cuban Americans in the early 1960s to Venezuelan, Colombian, Dominican and Puerto Rican communities.

Some say Miami is Latin America's northernmost city.

For Shakira, the fact that she will perform here is one of the event's highlights. “Miami is a city full of energy, home to the Latino community,” said Shakira, who lived in nearby Miami Beach for many years before moving to Barcelona, where she is raising her two boys.

The two stars admitted they never imagined when they were young girls, they would one day perform at the Super Bowl. Lopez, who is Puerto Rican, grew up in the Bronx, New York, and Shakira in Barranquilla, Colombia. “I think it’s a palpable example that everything is possible and that we have to dream big and fight with discipline and hard work,” Shakira said.

Shakira, 42, is a three-time Grammy winner who is especially remembered for her performances at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. She's building her second tuition-free school for low-income students in her hometown of Barranquilla.

Lopez, 50, has won multiple Billboard awards and was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the movie "Hustler." She produces and stars as a judge in "World of Dance" and has spearheaded humanitarian help for Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria victims.

“JLo and I are redefining paradigms about age, about race, about background,” Shakira said. “It doesn't really matter where you are from, how old you are or where you come from, what matters is the message, what you have to say.”

"A reminder of the nation's heritage: diversity"

“I think sports and music are the two things that can bring everybody together in a moment and we have that opportunity this Sunday,” Lopez said.

“I think the Super Bowl is a very American event, as American as it can get and I think it's going to be very nice," Shakira said. "It's also going to be a reminder of the heritage of this country, which is one of diversity and that's what we will be celebrating Sunday."

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Laura Barbosa contributed.