Shakira Zaghrouta halftime super bowl show

NFL/YouTube

Shakira’s Super Bowl tongue meme was actually a nod to her Lebanese roots

The internet loved it. And then learned a thing or two.

 

Sierra Juarez

Internet Culture

Published Feb 3, 2020   Updated May 19, 2021, 4:27 pm CDT

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s halftime show at the 2020 Super Bowl fueled the internet with new memes—and gave some people a culture lesson.

Shakira was performing her most iconic song, “Hips Don’t Lie,” when she released a high-pitch trill and rapidly moved her tongue. The moment was immediately captured and shared on Twitter, where people were live-tweeting the game.

A lot of people were quick to make a joke. Several memes came out of the moment.

“Me trying to get the last peach out the fruit cup,” Twitter user @ShaneSpeights wrote.

https://twitter.com/jordanmoreau_/status/1224144207440306176

But people were also pointing out that the movement is known as a zaghrouta, a way to express elation in Arab culture. The celebratory motion is often seen at weddings.

“Chiming in because I know everyone will be making jokes about this for days—this is a popular Arab tradition, called zaghrouta, used to express joy in celebrations,” journalist Lulu Ramadan tweeted. “In the melting pot that is Miami, you could not have picked a better Super Bowl act and this was a lovely touch.”

Shakira’s grandparents were immigrants from Lebanon. Although the singer is known for her Colombian roots, she also incorporated several elements of Middle Eastern culture into her performance.

“You really have to understand how huge Shakira’s performance was for the Middle Eastern community. She had belly dancing…performed ‘Ojos Así’ which was one of the few Shakira songs to have Arabic in it, did a Zaghrouta, all love on the biggest stage,” Twitter user @DanielGHajjar wrote.

https://twitter.com/DanielGHajjar/status/1224155936971022338

So while the movement—along with many moments during the Super Bowl—prompted Twitter memes, it was also a learning moment for some and a wink at her Lebanese background.

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*First Published: Feb 3, 2020, 8:04 am CST