Jennifer Lopez and Shakira took over the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020 and delivered an unforgettable party that paid homage to Latin culture. But in the lead-up to the highly-anticipated event, Lopez was less-than-thrilled about having to share the headliner spot with another major artist.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira co-headlined the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show
J. Lo’s creative process in bringing her Super Bowl halftime show to life was highlighted in her 2022 Netflix documentary Halftime. The decision for the NFL to hire two Latinas to perform for the halftime show in the midst of its publicity nightmare following its treatment of Colin Kaepernick upset everyone involved, including J. Lo and her team.
“Typically you have one headliner at a Super Bowl,” her longtime manager, Benny Medina, said in the documentary. “That headliner constructs the show, and should they choose to have other guests, that’s their choice.”
“It was an insult to say you need two Latinas to do the job that one artist historically has done.”
Jennifer Lopez thought it was ‘the worst idea in the world’ to have 2 headliners
During the film, Lopez is on the phone with Shakira as they figure out how exactly they’re going to split up their limited time on stage between the two of them.
“If it was gonna be a double headliner, they should’ve given us 20 minutes,” Lopez said honestly. “That’s what they should’ve f***ing done.”
“This is the worst idea in the world, to have two people do the Super Bowl,” she later griped during the show creation process. “It was the worst idea in the world.”
The NFL wanted J. Lo to change her show
The NFL forcing two stars to share the stage was only one of several issues J. Lo had with the league. The day before the show, they tried to get Lopez to remove the infamous cages from her performance, which was an overt criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
“We left rehearsal and I noticed everybody was freaking out, but I don’t know why,” Lopez recalled. “I get a call from Benny and he’s like, ‘They want to pull the cages.’ That night, the higher-ups at the NFL saw it for the first time and they’re like, ‘Hey, you can’t do that.’”
“The NFL had a real concern about making a political statement about immigration,” Medina explained. “They looked at the plans, and the message was absolute. They did not want those cages in the show. That had come down from the highest authority.”
But Lopez remained firm in her commitment to making a statement.
“For me, this isn’t about politics, this is about human rights,” she said. “I’m facing the biggest crossroads of my life, to be able to perform on the world’s biggest stage, but to take out the cages and sacrifice what I believe in would be like never being there at all.”
“There was a part of me that just got very zen, and I was just like, ‘Benny, I don’t care what you have to do, we’re not changing the show. The Super Bowl is tomorrow and we’re not changing anything.’”