Shakira was everything the Super Bowl (a very American form of entertainment) isn't. Her halftime performance was a hybrid of different cultures as she paid tribute to her Arab and Latina roots in just six minutes.
It's been 15 years since the Colombian-Lebanese singer released her hit song Hips Don't Lie, and her most recent performance really proved that they don't. She didn't shy away from flaunting her stellar bellydancing skills, a reminder that she's got them Arab genes.
Best part of all? Bringing the traditional zaghrouta (ululation) to the mix. The latter is a big part of Arab (and other) culture as it signals joy and happiness. Its presence in Arab weddings and celebrations is quite expected; its appearance in the Super Bowl, not so much.
But little did Shakira know she would leave the ignorant world in a state of confusion and unflattering remarks. Here are some of the bizarre things and comments people made online:
Exhibit 1: Understanding culture doesn't require extensive math skills
Exhibit 2: No, she wasn't imitating a turkey gobble
Exhibit 3: Nor was she doing a turkey impression
Exhibit 4: She certainly wasn't reproducing a turkey sound
Exhibit 5: Alarm sound? Really?
Exhibit 6: Not that this is a bad thing, but one person thought it was a PSA for sex education
Exhibit 7: Others thought it was an intense cunnilingus tutorial 🤦
Exhibit 8: The sexual references went a bit too far
Exhibit 9: Foodies had their own assumptions
Exhibit 10: The SpongeBob SquarePants references were kinda ridiculous
Exhibit 11: As were the goat comparisons
Exhibit 12: Learning that "tongue thing" isn't actually a thing, OK?
Yes, there were plenty of ludicrous comments that came forth following Shakira's so-called "tongue thing." The fact that it actually became known as the "tongue thing" is ridiculous in and of itself.
People with knowledge or attachment to Arab or Colombian culture did not bite their tongues. They pushed back and provided the trolls with a bit of information on the subject. The "tongue thing" actually has a name - zaghrouta/zalghouta - and is pretty common in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. It's usually performed by women at weddings and other joyous celebrations; it isn't easy to "learn" how to do it, it's actually a skill that takes lots and lots of practice (and Arab genes).
Despite the distasteful comments, the virality of Shakira's zaghrouta allowed for an exchange of cultures and knowledge online. If people weren't so preoccupied with their own bubbles, they would know that a whole different world(s) exist on the outside. Thanks, Shakira, for bursting people's superficial bubbles.