Jennifer Lopez and Shakira made history for representing Latinas with their 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, but Lopez initially resisted the National Football League’s decision to hire two headliners for the event.
In a scene from her upcoming Netflix documentary halftime — which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival in New York City on Wednesday — the hustlers Star can be seen crafting the show with her music director Kim Burse, with the couple stressing that Lopez will only have a limited amount of time to perform.
“We’ve got six bloody minutes. We have 30 seconds of a song and if we take a minute we have five left. But there must be certain songs that we sing. We gotta have our singing moments. It won’t be a dance revue. We have to sing our message,” Lopez told Burse. “That’s the worst idea in the world, having two people play the Super Bowl. It was the worst idea in the world.”
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Shakira and Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl.
In a separate interview for the documentary, Lopez’s longtime manager, Benny Medina, also expressed frustration with the NFL’s decision to let two global icons fill the coveted spot.
“Usually you have a headliner at a Super Bowl. This headliner builds a show, and if they choose to have other guests, that’s their choice,” says Medina. “It was an insult to say that it took two Latinas to do the job that historically has done one artist.”
In comparison, previous performers like Lady Gaga and Madonna performed one-on-one shows at the Super Bowl for about 14 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.
Inside earlier halftimeLopez is shown having a preliminary talk with Shakira about the performance and how much time they will take up during the set.
“I know the Super Bowl people want us to be woven throughout the show. I have no confirmation of how many minutes I’ll have,” Shakira tells Lopez, who replies, “Let me address that real quick. You said 12 minutes. I got a pretty good confirmation that we could have a minute or two longer, so we’re down to 13, 14 minutes now. I think Shakira what we should have is what you should have half the time and I should have [have half].”
“If it was going to be a double headliner, they should have given us 20 minutes,” Lopez concludes. “They damn well should have done that.”
Focus on Sports/Getty; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Jennifer Lopez and her daughter Emme appear on the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
A significant portion of halftime also showcases Lopez’s creative process for her part of the performance, which took place in Miami during the presidency of Donald Trump, whose approach to immigration — particularly of people of Hispanic descent attempting to enter the United States — sparked fierce backlash around the world.
Throughout the film, Lopez breaks her intention to highlight the injustices of immigration by getting her daughter Emme to sing her mother’s 2000 single “Let’s Get Loud” from inside a cage.
Many interpreted the picture’s capture as a comment on the US government’s handling of Mexican children on the country’s southern border, and Lopez and Medina claim so halftime that when the NFL found out about the plan, they tried to prevent the scene just before the Super Bowl.
“We walked out of rehearsal and I noticed everyone was freaking out, but I don’t know why,” Lopez recalls. “I get a call from Benny and he says, ‘They want to pull the cages.’ That night, NFL leaders saw it for the first time and they said, “Hey, you can’t do that.”
Medina continues, “The NFL had real reservations about making a political statement on immigration. They looked at the plans and the message was absolute. They didn’t want those cages on the show. That came from the highest authority.”
Netflix Jennifer Lopez is rehearsing for the documentary Halftime.
Lopez says she ultimately felt responsible for continuing the show, which was ultimately hailed as an “overt and necessary political moment for a league that has been criticized for sorely lacking in both,” EW’s Alex Suskind wrote at the time.
“For me, this is not about politics. This is about human rights. I’m at the biggest crossroads of my life to be able to perform on the biggest stage in the world, but to take out the cages and sacrifice what I believe in. It would be like never having been there,” she says. “Part of I just got very zen and I was 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.'”
An NFL representative did not respond to EW’s request for comment. halftime Premiered on Netflix June 14.
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