Jennifer Lopez’s Comments About Belly Dancing Spark Controversy After New Documentary Debuts

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Netflix released a new documentary about Jennifer Lopez, more commonly known as J. Lo, showcasing the behind-the-scenes and creation of the iconic Superbowl performance with her and Shakira in 2020. Before it was even released, there was some conversation about some people not being interested in a documentary about Lopez and what went on when getting ready to perform and everything that went into it. But, since their performance made history as it was the first time two Latina artists covered the halftime show together, some were excited to watch it. Now, however, Lopez is facing criticism after hearing some of the comments she made about Shakira.

First, Lopez voiced frustrations about the decision NFL made to book two headliners and split the performance between them. Since solo performers had been given 14 minutes of performing time, Lopez deemed it the “worst idea in the world” that she had to split the time of performance with Shakira. Later, the show also highlights the struggle Lopez had when it came to getting the cages from the performance to be included. In the performance, dancers were in glowing cages, which many assumed represented the immigrant children in cages at the US border. Lopez had a hard time convincing NFL to do this and says “I’m trying to give you something with substance,” and says she does not want the show to only include “shaking our asses” or “belly dancing.” She goes on to say how she wants the show to “I want something real. I want something that’s gonna make a statement, that’s gonna say we belong here and we have something to offer.”

Some people, however, felt that it was incredibly disrespectful to claim that belly dancing had no “substance.” Many pointed out that it has incredible cultural roots within Middle Eastern cultures. Shakira has been known to belly dance throughout the beginning of her career and relates it to the Lebanese roots she has on her father’s side. “It’s very disrespectful towards a culture that’s celebratory and so beautiful,” one person noted. But, not everyone believed that Lopez was coming from a mean-spirited place.

Others interpreted Lopez’s comments as her advocating for both of them. Some pointed out that she probably didn’t mean she was upset sharing the stage with Shakira, but instead was upset for both of them and believed that they both deserved more time on the stage. Fans believed this was an example of pitting women together and creating rivalries that did not exist. Other people online, however, believed that they should have let Shakira perform by herself.


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