Shakira’s tongue trill isn’t what you thought it was.

By Kimberly Truong
Updated Feb 03, 2020 @ 10:30 am
Advertisement

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's Super Bowl performance is still on our minds for a lot of reasons (Emme! That pole dance! Shakira's unexpected throwback outfit!) but chief among them are some powerful cultural moments — including J.Lo's feathered Puerto Rican flag.

During the show, Lopez brought out her daughter Emme to sing part of her song "Let's Get Loud," a performance that some people on social media interpreted as a response to President Donald Trump's child immigration policies. During the performance, a group of children could be seen behind Emme, holding hands and wearing white outfits with American flags on the top. Shakira also played the drums, surrounded by children dressed in white, sitting in what some have thought to be lit "cages," perhaps a political statement on putting migrant children in cages.

During the performance, J.Lo also sang a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born In the USA" while wearing the flag, which some have interpreted as a nod to Puerto Rico, which is a territory of the United States.

Not to mention, Shakira's tongue trill (her most meme'd moment of the night) carried deep cultural significance. While some instantly joked about the gesture, others pointed out that the sound was akin to a zaghrouta, an Arabic expression of joy and celebration. Some also said the trill may have been a reference to the Carnaval de Barranquilla, which is held in Shakira’s hometown in Colombia.

Prior to the performance, Lopez and Shakira both discussed the cultural implications of their performance.

"I think it’s a very important moment for our community, for the Latino community in this country," Lopez said in a press conference.

"The Super Bowl is a very American event, as American as it can get. It will also be a reminder of the heritage of this country, which is one of diversity, and that’s what we will be celebrating on Sunday," Shakira added.