Why Shakira Wanted To Honor Her Arabic Heritage With Tongue Wag At Super Bowl Halftime Show

Shakira’s Super Bowl halftime performance included multiple nods to her Arabic heritage, including a tongue wag that got everyone talking. Here's why making it multicultural was so important to her.

Shakira Tongue Wag Reason
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Jennifer Lopez, 50, and Shakira, 43, put on an incredible halftime show at the Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2. Their high energy show featured jaw dropping choreography with plenty of salsa and merengue to honor their shared Latina heritage. But Shakira also made sure to throw in some Arabic traditions — like belly dancing and an unexpected tongue wag. The tongue wag, called a zaghrouta, is used by women in Middle Eastern and North African cultures to express joy and strong emotions. And what could be more joyful than rocking the Super Bowl halftime show!

Shakira was born in Colombia but her paternal grandparents are from Lebanon and a source close to the stunning singer tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY why it was important for her to honor the Arabic side of her heritage on the huge stage. “Shakira’s decision to honor her Arabic heritage during her show came from the heart. Everyone knows her as a Latina and she is so proud of that but she’s also equally proud of her Arabic heritage and during these divided times she wanted to make sure her performance spoke to inclusion of all cultures. She’s happy everyone was talking about her zaghrouta [tongue-wag], she’s so proud to be part Lebanese. If her performance helped to broaden the conversation that’s an added bonus. She didn’t know it would become a big moment but she’s happy it did.”

A second source close to the ‘Whenever, Wherever’ singer tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that she’s riding high on her supersize success. “Shakira is still on cloud nine after her Super Bowl performance and is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support she’s received. All of the hard work she put into rehearsals completely paid off and although she had high expectations of her halftime show, it turned out even better than she had imagined. Shakira was so proud to join forces with JLo and put on a show that she put her whole heart into. It was a moment of a lifetime and a dream come true.”

Even though the overwhelming reaction to the performance was positive, there was some backlash with complaints of the show being too racy for an event that caters to families. Fortunately for Shakira, that complaints aren’t getting her down. “Shakira is not paying any attention to the haters or the backlash,” a friend of the singer’s tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Hundreds of millions of people saw the performance, of course people aren’t going to like it but she is focusing on the people who did like it and she is a big fan of what she and Jen did and she is more than happy with how it all turned out. She doesn’t want to give any attention to backlash, it is a complete waste of time to do so, she is very happy right now and riding the wave of only good emotions.”

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