Super Bowl Sunday is an important family event in my household just like most of the United States. We go to church in the morning and afterwards gather at my mother in law’s house to spend way too much time discussing a menu that always ends up being pizza, nachos and wings. The guys sit around the television to discuss who has what on football squares and what team they are rooting for while the ladies rate the commercials and wait for the half-time show. This year was a little different for me though, I was extremely excited for this super bowl because three Hispanic queens were going to be making history. You had Demi Lovato singing the national anthem then JLo and Shakira performing at half-time, I couldn’t wait!
When the half time show was announced I called for Maiya, my 13-year-old, to the living room because she told me she wanted to see it with me. As soon as Shakira took the stage she was explosive. She performed dances like the Mapale, the Champeta, Salsa and African rhythms all from her Columbian roots. Everyone in the room was singing the verses they knew from songs heard on the radio. They complimented her belly dancing and how well she moved for being 43 years old.
Then when Jlo hit the stage Maiya’s eyes lit up and she started yelling, “YES, BORICUA!” We already knew JLo was going to give us a show because she is an amazing performer. Maiya was singing along and everyone in the room was complimenting JLo’s moves. Then something magical happened. Maiya not only got to see JLo the artist, but she got to see JLo the mom. The moment her daughter, Emme, took the stage and started singing, was a moment every mother would be proud of. Emme did amazing and I know her momma was proud! I was overjoyed to share that experience with my 13-year-old bi-racial daughter. After all, Maiya was thrilled to see a mother and daughter share a stage where millions of people would be watching.
She was able to see her Hispanic culture represented on television and a mother share a stage with her daughter. Shortly after though, she was shocked as she logged on to social media and saw that the performance she thought was spectacular was being called inappropriate. She saw people asking why was an American half-time show being sung in a different language? Why were the outfits too revealing? Why was it provocative?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to like what they like, however what many saw as inappropriate I saw as my culture and heritage. People are quick to criticize what they do not understand and that is something that I had to explain to my daughter who began questioning why others were talking negatively about Hispanic people. What we say as adults has a direct impact on our children. Our children think like us and act like us because we are their role-models. I saw women posting statuses like, “what is this half time show teaching our young girls?” Well, in my opinion if you are depending on a half time show to teach your child something, then I’m sorry but you are not doing your job as a parent. If you ask my 13-year-old daughter that same question she would reply, “I SAW GIRL POWER AND WOMEN OF COLOR MAKING HISTORY.” She can say that because I have tried my best to teach her about her Hispanic and Black culture, so she was able to pin point the African rhythms and Hispanic dances during the show.
This was not the first time that people criticized the super bowl half time show but it was the first time my daughter was exposed to the criticism on social media. We have to do better as a village and show our children how to be proud of who they are. The last thing I want is to have my daughter second guess herself on whether or not she should put a salsa or African dance move in her floor routine because of what others may say or think. Let’s be kind to one another and be excited for one another. In my eyes if two queens can share one of the biggest stages in America, we as women can be proud and cheer them on!