Pop icons Jennifer Lopez and Shakira set social media ablaze following their 2020 Super Bowl halftime performance, which included everything from a stripper pole to a children’s choir.
Sunday in Miami was the first time two Latina women headlined the monumental event, and the historic selection represented an important turning point for the NFL as the league looks to become a more culturally inclusive organisation.
The NFL took heavy criticism for its handling of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his 2016 “take a knee” movement.
The silent protest prompted several big-name celebrities like Rihanna and Cardi B to boycott the NFL in solidarity with Kaepernick — and the league quickly began to feel the impact in ratings and public opinion.
The 2019 Super Bowl attracted its lowest audience in over a decade, with only 98.2 million viewers tuning in. Critics flocked to Twitter to attack the game’s all-white, all-male halftime performers — pop group Maroon 5. A viral Change.org petition was even created in an effort to remove the band from the show altogether.
Consequently, Sunday night might have served as the first big step in fixing the NFL’s battered image. Furthermore, Super Bowl XIV was the first Super Bowl halftime show co-produced in partnership with rapper-turned-billionaire businessman Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.
The new alliance, announced back in August, represents a conscious effort by the NFL to improve its reputation and revamp its social injustice initiative. Jay-Z and his entertainment media company Roc Nation will serve as the league’s “live music entertainment strategist” moving forward.
While the pairing may seem odd, Jay-Z — a staunch Kaepernick supporter and vocal critic of the NFL in the past — defended his new role to help the league grow and improve from the inside out (and has received criticism in the process)
During Sunday night’s game, Jay-Z and his family refused to stand for the National Anthem — perhaps a quiet nod to Kaepernick in spite of this new partnership.
A boost from streaming
The NFL famously doesn’t pay its Super Bowl halftime performers, but the post-performance surge many of these artists experience is well worth the lack of a paycheck.
Last year, Maroon 5 saw a sales spike of nearly 500% following the group’s Super Bowl LIII performance, according to Nielsen.
Similarly, Justin Timberlake’s same-day music sales jumped 534% after his 2018 show, while Lady Gaga’s digital catalogue surged above 1000% the year prior.