Jennifer Lopez reflected on her Super Bowl Halftime 2020 performance, which contained subtle political messages about anxieties shared by many Latinos in the U.S. — children in cages, Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Maria and the urge to be heard.
Lopez’s 11-year-old daughter Emme sang Let’s Get Loud while sitting inside a cage structure.
Emme was surrounded by other young children with American flags on their shirts emerging from cage-like structures which appeared to be a statement about the ongoing U.S.-Mexico border crisis that separated migrant children from their parents and locked them up.
“Let’s get loud!” Lopez sang as her daughter sang the Bruce Springsteen hook to Born in the U.S.A. Shakira hit some drums.
In the background, strobe lights crossed each other to form an image of a cage.
On Instagram, Lopez shared a backstage video from her halftime performance, showing her hugging the people around her and saying a prayer before taking the stage.
“These moments were captured just minutes before we hit the stage last night,” she wrote.
“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great,” Lopez captioned the video, adding the hashtags #PepsiHalftime, #LetsGetLoud, #BornInTheUSA and #SuperBowlLIV.
According to CNN, Lopez edited an earlier version of her caption for the Instagram post which included a reference to “other people” who “try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages.”
Lopez wore a feathered coat on stage which featured the Puerto Rican flag on one side and the American flag on the other.
It was a custom Versace cape that had 40,000 feathers in it, with 2,000 crystals making up the flag’s lone star, according to an Instagram post by stylist Mariel Haenn.
The move came at a trying time for those on the island of 3.2 million U.S. citizens, who are still struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane and major earthquake.
“Everybody began to clap. They jumped out of their chairs. It was so exciting. There were even people with tears falling down their face,” said Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for the mayor of the southwestern town of Guayanilla, where dozens of people lost their homes in a recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed one person and led U.S. President Donald Trump to approve a major disaster declaration for towns in the island’s southern region.
He noted the flag became a symbol of resilience and hope after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017 as a Category 4 storm, causing more than $100 billion in estimated damage and killing an estimated 2,975 people in its aftermath. It also became a symbol of resistance and justice last summer when large protests over corruption and other issues led to the resignation of the island’s former governor.
It was so strong a symbol that the territorial legislature in 1948 banned people from even owning one because it was then seen as a symbol of an independence movement. The law was repealed in 1957.
“We Puerto Ricans are very sentimental about the flag,” Hernandez said.
On Monday, one of Google’s suggestions for people seeking details about J-Lo’s performance was, “What flag was in the halftime show?” Lopez is from the Bronx and her parents are from Puerto Rico.
—With files from The Associated Press