The Team Behind the Super Bowl Half Time Show Explained Those Kids in Cages
Yes, they called the props "cages."
Even among the glitz, glam, feathers, fringe, and girl power, it was tough to miss the symbolism of kids in illuminated cages during Shakira and Jennifer Lopez's Super Bowl Half Time Show performance. While many viewers saw it as a direct criticism of the ongoing crisis at the border, the team behind the spectacle explained that it's not so clear cut. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo explained that those hoops were, in fact, cages, but also noted that there's more than one kind of cage.
“I think it’s symbolic to ... You can put yourself in your own cage metaphorically as well if you don’t believe that you can be bigger or greater than something and if someone doesn’t allow you to believe that about yourself,” Tabitha said, referring to J.Lo’s 2018 single, 'Limitless." "Someone can put you in cages or you can put yourself in cages, so it’s a bigger statement to everyone to see your own potential and not feel limited in this life that we have that’s so special here in this country."
Tabitha, who also worked with Lopez on her critically acclaimed film Hustlers, noted that she never intended to make any overt political statements with the symbolism during the performance, the cages and the Puerto Rican flag included.
"I don’t think we were trying to be heavy-handed with anything," she added. "I think we were just celebrating all that is beautiful about this country — Puerto Rico being part of this country."
Tabitha did speak on immigration, however, she just didn't want her own opinions to overshadow the big show. When she was asked what she wanted viewers to take away from the spectacle, she said that she wanted everyone to feel a sense of identity and respect everyone, regardless of where they come from.
"Let's remember this country was built and founded off of multicultural people," she said. "We're all immigrants coming from somewhere that made this country. We show each other love and respect and we will come out on top. Really, that's the message."