Shakira defends taking Super Bowl gig because Latinos have 'been through so much in Trump's America'

Erin Donnelly

Though long an exclusive showcase for the biggest music superstars, the Super Bowl halftime show performance has been fraught with political tension in recent years thanks to the NFL’s standoff with former player Colin Kaepernick over his taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color.

Some artists — including Travis Scott, who joined Maroon 5 at the 2019 show — have faced backlash for performing, and Jay-Z’s recent partnership with the NFL prompted accusations that the rap mogul was taking sides against Kaepernick. But Shakira — who will headline the 2020 halftime show on Feb. 2 in Miami alongside Jennifer Lopez — says taking part is an opportunity to celebrate her culture.

In an interview with The Guardian, the Colombian singer also referenced the impact of Donald Trump’s policies on the Latinx community — and her urge to reclaim some power for her people — when asked if the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick had given her pause.

“Well, you know, I think it’s the right thing to do for the Latino community because we’ve also been through so much in Trump’s America, with walls being built and …” she told the British newspaper. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate our culture, you know?”

It’s not the first time the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer has sounded off on Trump. In 2017, the half-Lebanese star wrote an essay for Time reacting to Trump’s ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries, which she called “an attack on all humans and in particular, the ones most in need of protection.”

She continued, "Latinos are our people ... They come seeking an opportunity to build a better life for themselves and for their children, which is what the U.S. has always prided itself on representing: opportunities."

Her Super Bowl gig was announced in September.

“I’m so honored to be taking on one of the world’s biggest stages in the company of a fellow female artist to represent Latinos and Latinas from the U.S. and all over the world — and to top it off, on my birthday!” Shakira said at the time. “This is a true American dream and we are going to bring the show of a lifetime!”

The rapper Pitbull, who has collaborated with both Shakira and Lopez and is of Cuban descent, is also rumored to take the Super Bowl LIV stage in his hometown of Miami.

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