Never Forget Where You Came From – Screw the Critics

While the Super Bowl is obviously a championship game, let’s call it what it is. It is a national event that gains massive attention. Putting on a great performance for the National Anthem and Halftime show matters just as much as the game because of the wide variety of audiences who tune in for those and the commercials. It is a spectacle.

That being said, Demi Lovato killed the National Anthem. That was of course awesome to see as she recently dealt with a relapse of drug issues. She sounded great, looked great and did awesome. I was happy as hell to see that. I just wanted to make mention of that before diving in to the halftime performance.

Every year, the halftime performance is probably the most scrutinized part of the game and of course this year was no different. Most years, I am entertained honestly. I can’t think of any performances where I hated it like so many others. There are people who just look to bitch about it every single year.

Two amazing performers and cultural icons in Shakira and Jennifer Lopez teamed up and absolutely killed their performance. Of course some people focus on their “provocative” attire. It is no different than bringing your kids to a beach filled with sun tanned bodies in bikinis so relax mouth breathers.

For those comparing that performance to strip clubs or pornos…You have clearly never visited pornhub or a strip club and it shows.

I saw a FB post that said it better than I can and I will share it and play off of that (Yes, I fact checked it because that is the responsible thing to do)…

There were so many cultural references in last night’s show and I’d say probably very few white Americans recognized them.

The Superbowl was hosted in Miami this year – a city nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America”.

Some of the costumes in J-Lo’s performance showed a tribute to Selena, one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of all time (who J-Lo played in the 1997 biographical film.)

J-Lo, who is of Puerto Rican descent, donned a reversible cape showing the Puerto Rican and American Flags on either side. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory which is still recovering from devastating damage from a hurricane and subsequent earthquakes. J-Lo has notably donated at least $1 million towards aid for Puerto Rico. Her daughter singing “Born in the USA” was a reminder that Puerto Ricans are Americans too.

I know some people said “Let’s have more of the kids singing! It should be family friendly!” While that was happening, other children were shown in cage-like structures to represent a subtle nod to the children (mostly of Latino descent) we have kept in detention over the past several administrations.

And Shakira. Thanks to my sister’s obsession I grew up knowing a LOT about Shakira! Her father’s parents were Lebanese immigrants who emigrated to New York City where her father was born and then subsequently immigrated to Barranquilla, Colombia – where waves of Middle Eastern immigrants came after WW1 and WW2.

The “weird tongue thing” she did? That’s called a zaghrouta which is used to express joy in Arabic culture. Shakira is very proud of her Lebanese roots and has been belly dancing since the age of 4.

The “stomping dance” she did? Champeta! A tribute to Afro-Colombian culture.

In fact almost all the dancing in the half-time show was a nod to Latin or Afro-Latin culture including mapalé and salsa.

So maybe you thought it was “nasty” or “not family-friendly” but I saw it as pride, a celebration of culture, and one of the most honoring things these two women could have done for Latin Americans.

 

Although I didn’t know about all of the cultural aspects listed in the post above, I am glad I do now. I think it is fantastic that these two superstars highlighted their culture in such an electrifying way. I am all for learning and acknowledging other cultures.

One of the great things about being an American is people come from all over the world. We are a melting pot. Most places don’t have this kind of diversity in their culture and I think it should be represented, respected and appreciated. I loved the cape with the Puerto Rican and American Flag being shown with her daughter, Emme, singing Born in the USA.

If that is offensive to anyone, eat shit because you evidently have no idea what being American is. Take your ethnic cleansing somewhere else.

I love people who are passionate about where they came from and I don’t believe that is something people should ever forget. It is silly that invisible dividing lines on a map separate so many people or people get preconceived ideas about what Americans should look like.

Although, I won’t pretend to be a J-Lo or Shakira super fan, I do enjoy the songs I know.

I was so pumped when I heard Waka Waka start playing. The song itself is a nod to acknowledge where you came from so throwing in the Champeta which originated where Shakira is from makes it even better.

I actually started watching some of the other live performances of it as well as the music video. Of course I gravitated to the video of her live performance in Africa for the 2010 World Cup. That song is awesome and just fun to sing. In the video from Africa, because of the message in the lyrics, seeing so many people throw up their flags for the countries they represent proudly gives me goosebumps.

Both J. Lo and Shakira both have amazing voices. They are both obviously freaking gorgeous as well. I think I speak for most people when I say we all need to drink from their fountain of youth. Naturally, physical attraction is there. If saying those two women are gorgeous is too sexual for the right or demeaning of women to the left, stay woke fam.

Too many people in society tear down the latino/latina culture. That hits home for me when I hear it because of the family I have from my marriage. My wife’s maternal family is Cuban. Had her grandparents not come here, I am probably not writing about this right now. They along with many others left Cuba in search of a better life here in America to escape communism under Fidel Castro.

My son loves his Weeta, his great grandmother. Weeta lives with my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Despite her age, she is a ball of energy and is more youthful than many people younger than her. I believe part of that is the strong culture of the matriarchs in that community. They feel the need to take care of everyone even when they don’t have to. I believe that is a large part of why latinas tend to live longer statistically.

I went over to their house to get leftovers after Thanksgiving. Weeta was in the middle of doing some laundry. Keep in mind, the matriarchs are persistent. You just don’t argue with them. You won’t win.

She insisted on stopping what she was doing and making some fresh fried Yuca to go with my black beans and turkey. Despite my pleas not to because I didn’t want to inconvenience her, she did it anyway. That’s what they do. They go above and beyond for their families. I’m happy my wife’s family has accepted me as their own since day 1. I will forever be grateful for that.

Getting back to the ball of energy and her relationship with my little dude, I love that he randomly screams words reflecting his Weeta. My wife and I were walking around Target a few weeks back and all he kept doing was screaming “nino” repeatedly. Just like his Weeta, massive voice in a tiny body.

I love it. I am damn proud of the fact part of my pasty white child’s culture is Cuban. I hope he looks back on that proudly for the rest of his life.

I am not going to pretend to be some cultural guru who knows everything about any given culture because I don’t. But I am always open to learning more given the opportunity. One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Paine…

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion.”

As for Shakira and J. Lo, hell of a performance and I loved it. One of my favorites in Super Bowl history for sure. Kudos to those ladies for highlighting where they came from. Tsamina mina zangalewa.

 

 

 

 

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