Shakira Defends Decision to Perform 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show: 'Opportunity We Couldn't Miss'

Other artists like Rihanna and Cardi B had previously turned down the gig in support of Colin Kaepernick

Shakira Cosmopolitan Magazine
Shakira. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth for Cosmopolitan

Two years on, Shakira is still proud of her Super Bowl LIV halftime show, which she says was all about representing the Latino community in a positive light.

The "She Wolf" singer, 44, made history in February 2020 when she and Jennifer Lopez, 52, performed together as the first two Latina women to co-headline the coveted halftime show gig.

The show was not without its controversies, though, as stars like Rihanna and Cardi B had previously declined the gig in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose peaceful protests against racial inequality all but ended his football career.

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, Shakira said she felt as though the 12-minute performance was a "responsibility" of hers, and an unmissable opportunity to represent minorities on the grandest of all stages.

Shakira Cosmopolitan Magazine
Shakira. Ellen von Unwerth for Cosmopolitan

"J.Lo, as a Latina born in the U.S., and me, as a Latin American woman in the U.S., had a huge responsibility and opportunity to represent all different minorities through our performance," Shakira said. "In my case, I also wanted to pay homage to my Middle Eastern culture. I feel that we did it."

The singer explained that the show was not an easy one to put together, and there was "a lot of work" and "a lot of stress" that went into it, but it still remains "one of the highlights" of her career.

"I really thought it was a great opportunity to make a strong statement about what an important part of the American fabric the Latino community is," she said, adding that took care to include a local Colombian street dance called champeta into the performance. "An opportunity that we couldn't miss."

Shakira Cosmopolitan Magazine
Shakira. Ellen von Unwerth for Cosmopolitan

Kaepernick, 33, emerged as a leading activist in the fight against racial inequality in America after he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 as a peaceful protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

The #TakeAKnee movement, as it came to be called, soon spread to other teams and ignited serious backlash from many including President Trump.

The athlete opted out of his 49ers contract in March 2017 and remains unsigned. In February 2019, he reached a settlement after suing the NFL for colluding against him because of his political beliefs.

RELATED VIDEO: Shakira Says Her Bag Was 'Destroyed' by Wild Boars Who Attacked Her and Son in Barcelona Park

In 2018, Rihanna, 33, was asked to perform the upcoming halftime show, but declined, with a source telling PEOPLE at the time that the singer's decision was likely made in support of Kaepernick.

"That's certainly what everyone at the NFL believes," the insider said. "I don't work with Rihanna so I don't know what her camp told them, but the word within the organization is that's why she said no."

Cardi B, meanwhile, said in February 2019 that she'd also been offered a spot at the halftime show, but turned it down to "stand behind" the quarterback.

"My husband [Offset], he loves football. His kids play football. It's really hard for him… He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can't go to the Super Bowl, because he's got to stand for something," Cardi, 28, told the Associated Press at the time. "You have to sacrifice that. I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there's a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him."

Meanwhile, Lopez previously defended her decision to perform alongside Shakira with a sentiment similar to that of the "Whenever, Wherever" singer: she wanted to represent Latin women.

"I think it's important in this day and age for two Latin women to be standing on that stage — when Latinos are being treated a certain way in this country, or looked at a certain way — to show that we have a really specific and beautiful culture and worth and value, and we bring something to this country that's necessary," Lopez said.

Related Articles