Jennifer Lopez played the long game to the Super Bowl
When Jennifer Lopez was growing up, the holidays were all about Spanish music.
At her house in the Bronx, her mother’s musical preferences reigned supreme, and young Lopez wasn’t too happy about it at the time.
“We hated it,” Lopez said in an interview with People in 2017. “We wanted to hear what was cool at the time.”
It’s an experience had by many, whether you are one or five generations removed from your immigrant roots. If the mission as a kid is to assimilate to the culture around you, you will try to do just that even if the cost is turning a surly eye to the music or sound of your people.
What changes, as adults, if you’re lucky, is that your past and your culture come into focus, as it eventually did for Lopez.
“I remember coming out to Hollywood and starting and everybody seeing me being Latina as something that was going to be a hindrance in a way,” she recalled in the 2015 documentary “The Latin Explosion: A New America.”
More than 20 years after she released her first album, Lopez is going to take the stage at the Super Bowl halftime show in a milestone moment that will see two powerhouse Latina artists co-headline for the first time, showing, as she has many times during her wide-ranging career, that existing between cultures is as American as the game being played on Sunday.