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February 3, 2020

The Best Tweet about the Super Bowl Halftime Show (that had Nothing to Do with J.Lo’s Age or Ass).

As a proud Puerto Rican (and West Indian…and a lot of other stuff) woman who was born and raised in the United States, watching the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show was the highlight of my night.

And Jennifer Lopez’s Instagram post from earlier in the night summed up the significance so perfectly:

This is what “two little Latin girls can do,” but little Latin girls and boys, regardless of how they come to America, can also grow up to be teachers and doctors and healers and lawyers and scientists and athletes and whatever else their little hearts desire—if they have the opportunity.

But this show wasn’t just about entertainment. Both J.Lo and Shakira (who is of Colombian and Lebanese descent) used their time on stage to celebrate the Latino community (Spanish-language songs, salsa dancing, and cameos from two Latinx rappers, Bad Bunny and J. Balvin) and make some bold statements about immigration.

Did you catch the children in cages and the moment where J.Lo’s daughter sang the chorus to “Born in the U.S.A.” while her momma flipped her American flag cape to showcase the Puerto Rican flag?

 

I get that immigration is a hot-button topic and one that divides so much of this country. And please don’t try to school me on the fact that J.Lo herself is not an immigrant—remember, Puerto Rican girl here. (Puerto Rico has been an American territory since 1898, but Puerto Ricans were not granted American citizenship until the Jones–Shafroth Act in 1917).

But the fact is, according to a 2017 poll, nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans, whether they live on the island or the mainland, are United States citizens. And from my own personal experience, most Americans don’t see much of a distinction between Puerto Ricans or Colombians or Mexicans, or whether families and individuals from these or any other Hispanic countries came here legally or illegally.

I have never met a Hispanic person who hasn’t had multiple experiences where they were made to feel like an outsider in America, where they were treated like a criminal, even if they were born right here in the U.S. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told: “Why don’t you just go back where you came from?!” (Hint: I “came here” from New York City.)

And the truth is that Hispanic people see ourselves as a community, which means if you mess with some of us, you mess with all of us. So last night, J.Lo, Shakira, Bad Bunny, J. Balvin, and every Latino dancer, musician, and backup singer was there to represent our people—mi gente.

So yes, let’s talk honestly about immigration policies or how more than 40 million people living in America were born in other countries, but detainment and travel bans overwhelmingly target immigrants of color. But let’s also talk about the millions of people who praised last night’s performance, who rave about #tacotuesday, who appropriate our culture, our music, our style, our language, and then still turn around and complain about us being in “their country.”

Here’s a message from a “little Latin girl”:

If you can’t handle us at our “immigrant families coming to America for a better, safer life” then you don’t deserve us at our “J.Lo and Shakira dominating the Super Bowl Halftime Show.”

~

For another perspective on the halftime show, check this out!

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