Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlined the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show. The powerhouse women used the opportunity to celebrate Latin culture, focus on women empowerment and subtly pay tribute to Kobe Bryant.
The tribute came in the forms of the Los Angeles Lakers’ iconic purple and gold around the stage, with no tribute being overtly obvious outside of that.
Prior to the show, CBS Sports reported that the performance was completely planned out before Bryant’s death on Sunday, Jan. 26. However, when Lopez and Shakira heard of his passing, they reportedly went back to the drawing board to figure out how to include a tribute to the lifelong Laker in their nearly 15-minute show.
In a press conference earlier this week, Shakira said that they’d be thinking of Kobe during the performance.
“We’ll all be remembering Kobe on Sunday and celebrating life and diversity in this country,” she said. “I’m sure he’d be very proud to see the message we are trying to convey on the stage that day.”
The Tribute was Subtle
The halftime show started with Shakira performing in a red dress with a number of dancers around her. She continued with a medley of her songs. Later on, Bad Bunny took the stage with her for “I Like it Like That.” After, she moved into “Hips Don’t Lie,” taking the time to crowdsurf.
Jennifer Lopez took the stage to “Jenny From the Block.” After a medley of her songs, J Balvin joined her. Together, they performed “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” Emme, J Lo’s daughter, also joined the performance. She sang alongside her mom.
The tribute happened in the background of everything else going on. While the headliners and guests performed, the stage lit up different colors.
There was a lot of purple and gold on the stage throughout, but it got more prominent toward the end of the performance. At one point, the stage was completely gold and purple, which was most likely a nod to the Lakers.
Fans Were Expecting More of a Tribute
Though the lights were a nice touch, fans took to Twitter after the show, confused about the lack of tribute to Kobe. It was especially confusing because guest performer Bad Bunny released a tribute song to Kobe earlier this week.
There was a moment of silence earlier in the game, but no outright tribute at halftime, as some people were expecting. Once fans realized the tribute they expected was not coming, they quickly voiced their disappointment on social media.
Some people were upset, feeling as though they’d been misled by talk of a tribute.
Prior to the game, the whole stadium paid tribute to the nine lives lost in the helicopter crash. After the warm-up, the team took the field in the shape of a 24 to remember the Black Mamba.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we ask you for a moment of silence to remember the 9 people who died in a plane crash last Sunday, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi,” the announcer said.