Shakira’s Super Bowl LIV performance with Jennifer Lopez was more than just a flashback to the early aughts. Much of the show was a vibrant cultural crossover. Shakira, who is half-Lebanese and half-Colombian, has dedicated her career to her cultures, but her Super Bowl performance brought it all together in one place. “I was born and raised in Colombia, but I listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, the Cure, the Police, the Beatles, and Nirvana,” she had previously told Faze magazine. “I was so in love with that rock sound, but at the same time, because my father is of 100 percent Lebanese descent, I am devoted to Arabic tastes and sounds.” Through dance, instruments, costuming, and more, Shakira’s performance was full of allusions to her life and career. Here are some of the details from her performance you might have missed and need to know.
First of all, Shakira is 43 years old.
The international superstar turned 43 on Sunday, celebrating her birthday by performing on one of the world’s largest stages. Not only is that an exciting coincidence, it’s also a stunning reminder for the rest of us that New Year’s resolutions are supposed to last all year, not end after eating a jar of queso during the Super Bowl. No regrets, though.
That “tongue thing” has a name.
It’s funny how things have meaning, huh? Shakira almost immediately went viral for her zaghrouta, a tongue-trilling vocalization common in many cultures, including Lebanese and Colombian. It’s popularly used during Carnaval de Barranquilla, a festival in Shakira’s hometown. So no, it wasn’t a SpongeBob Squarepants reference. It’s simply a way to express excitement and joy, one that’s native to Shakira’s home.
Shakira is kind of a rock star.
We’re so used to watching Shakira’s dance moves that it must’ve slipped the cultural consciousness that Shakira is also an accomplished guitar player and drummer. She’s literally a one-woman band who could’ve done the whole set on her own. Twice during the show, Shakira took a hot second to show off her skills as a musician, because if you’re gonna talk your talk, you may as well do it in front of millions of people. While Lopez’s daughter, Emme Muñiz, sang “Born in the U.S.A.,” Shakira played the drums, an ode to her love for rock music. For more of Shakira banging on the drums and absolutely shredding the guitar, please see her “Can’t Remember to Forget You” video, which also features Rihanna. You’re welcome.
She brought Gazelle out.
It may not have been intentional, but Shakira’s sparkly red outfit looked remarkably similar to the one her character, Gazelle, wears in the movie Zootopia. Kind of neat for all the kids who were already bored of the Super Bowl by halftime. We relate.
Shakira’s iconic belly dancing is a reference to her Lebanese heritage.
We all know her hips don’t lie, but where did she get them from? Not her mama — her dad. Shakira once told Rolling Stone that she was eating in a Middle Eastern restaurant with her father when she first heard the doumbek drum and fell for belly dancing. Now she combines belly dance with Latin dance to create her own signature style.
She featured the Arab instruments the mijwiz and doumbek.
While Shakira belly danced to “Ojos Así,” two Arab instruments, the mijwiz and the doumbek, were playing. The mijwiz is a woodwind, and the doumbek (which has many names and spellings) is a type of goblet drum popular in cultures across the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. “Ojos Así” is one of Shakira’s few songs to feature Arabic. Not to blow your mind or anything, but Shakira allegedly (depending on which Google search result you ask) speaks more than five languages, including Arabic, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Catalan. It’s unclear how much of each language she knows, but it’s certainly more than enough to get by.
Shakira danced champeta and mapalé, two Afro-Colombian dance traditions.
Shakira proudly brought two Colombian dance styles to the Super Bowl. While singing “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” Shakira and her dancers performed champeta, which she learned from an 18-year-old dancer in Barranquilla. Earlier in the halftime show, she danced mapalé. Instead of changing up her style to fit the Super Bowl’s massive audience, Shakira made sure to highlight all the things that make her and her music what they are. She told you those hips weren’t gonna lie!