Jay-Z Allegedly Tried to Dissuade Jennifer Lopez from Getting Political During the Super Bowl Halftime Show

The Super Bowl LIV halftime show was one for the books. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez put on career-spanning performances, complete with nonstop dancing, surprise singers, and flashy costumes. But if you were too focused on the commotion, you might have missed the subtle political statement the duo made.

The nearly 15-minute performance featured a lowkey message about immigration — but it almost didn’t happen. Reports say Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation allegedly tried to pressure Lopez into cutting the moment from the show.

Jay-Z and Jennifer Lopez
(L-R) Jay-Z and Jennifer Lopez | Prince Williams/Getty Images North America; Steve Granitz/WireImage

The political statement featured in the Super Bowl halftime show

Toward the end of the set, Lopez’s 11-year-old daughter, Emme, and other children appeared on stage and in the field in illuminated cages. The group wore white sweaters with the American flag on them.

Emme then stepped out of her cage, singing Lopez’s 1999 song “Let’s Get Loud.” She and her mother fused the song into Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” As they belted out the lyrics, Lopez donned a feathered cape that featured an American flag on the back and a Puerto Rican flag on the inside.

The moment references the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where migrant children have been separated from their families and detained in cages.

Although Lopez and Shakira both participated in the segment, reports say the “Get Right” singer came up with it on her own.

Jay-Z and Roc Nation reportedly did not want Jennifer Lopez to get political at the show

Sources told the entertainment website lovebscott.com on Feb. 3 that Roc Nation — which has a deal with the NFL — “fought to get her to cut it from her set.”

“Despite a great deal of pressure from Roc Nation, Jennifer put her foot down and insisted on keeping the segment,” sources said.

Insiders claimed that Jay-Z himself stepped in and personally tried to talk Lopez out of making a political statement at the show but that “she would not be moved away from the idea.”

Roc Nation allegedly also tried to dissuade Shakira from participating in the moment, but she refused, “playing drums during the number.”

The NFL and Roc Nation announced in August 2019 that it had reached a partnership for events and social justice initiatives. Jay-Z immediately attracted criticism for the deal, with many people slamming him for doing business with an organization that allegedly blackballed former NFL star Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.

Some people felt that Jay-Z betrayed Kaepernick and that he only took the deal to benefit his own business interests. But the 4:44 rapper insisted otherwise, saying in a later press conference that he was simply trying to move the conversation forward and make substantial changes.

“I think we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items,” Jay-Z said (via The Hollywood Reporter).

But this latest news has people, once again, questioning his motives and giving him the side-eye. As of writing, Jay-Z has not addressed the report.

The segment was important to Jennifer Lopez

Lopez has said in the past that she wanted to represent the Latinx community and use the opportunity to bring people together. After her performance at the Super Bowl, she opened up about the political moment and the inspiration behind it in a message shared on her Instagram page. 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. Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great.”

The post included a video of Lopez with her daughter and preparing for the show.

Judging from social media, many people absolutely adored the program. With any luck, the next halftime show will be just as entertaining.