Even though social media has its negative effects with cyber bullying and the influence of wannabe YouTube stars alone (check out the Netflix documentary series “Don’t F**k with Cats”, if you want a sense of what I mean), there is one good thing about it that I feel is noteworthy to highlight. The Super Bowl performance by Shakira, J. Balvin, Badbunny, and J-Lo, not only brought about memes on Instagram and Snapchat videos, yet it also delivered a strong message to a worldwide audience of how it really doesn’t take much to bring us all together. More importantly, it also showed how culturally diverse that we all have come to be in the last 10-15 years. And no, I’m not just referring to the intoxicating rhythm and vibes of Latin music – I am talking about Spanglish, mis amigos. Honestly, it’s incredible how a countless amount of mainstream pop songs have Spanish verses in them now. Better yet, top Latin artists are collaborating with top names like Justin Bieber, Drake, Meghan Trainer, Katy Perry, Major Lazer, and DJ Khalid just to name a few. Even though Spanglish isn’t anything new (we all know that Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias have been around for quite some time, for example), it certainly isn’t as big as it is now in 2020. And to me, it is a beautiful thing. Maybe, you don’t understand what the Spanish verses mean. Maybe, a part of you also feels more open-minded and suave for taking an interest in Shakira and J-Lo as they were doing what they did best. But instantly, you’re hooked. Why? I am not going to pretend there is only one answer to that question. After all, there isn’t a right or wrong way to look at it. But in the most cliché sense imaginable, I believe that last Sunday illustrated how us as people have way more similarities than differences in general. It is a fact that should be celebrated each and every single day of the year – not just when a Super Bowl comes around.
Before I continue, I think it is necessary for me to clarify something about myself that I am positive a few of you might find surprising (especially if you don’t know me well). I happen to be Mexican-Jewish. That means, eating tacos and quesadillas is normal, fútbol is life during the World Cup, taking pride and giving it your all in whatever you do is a responsibility, fun times are a must, and of course, I can even have a casual Spanglish conversation – my goal is to be as close to fluent as possible in the next 5 years, yet that is beside the point. All my cousins and uncles and aunts that I have grown up with are all Mexican. So, although I cannot speak for every Latin country en el mundo, I can tell you this without a doubt: Mexico is way more diverse in culture than what the average person might think. Yes, there are Mexican-Jews, Mexican-Europeans, redheaded Mexicans, Jamaican-Mexicans, Asian-Mexicans, and so many others that live in the country that I love for all its worth. Again, I don’t know what the vibe is like in fellow Latin countries to any extent. But if World Cup has taught me anything, it is that Argentina has a fair amount of diversity in their own right (especially on the Italian front – aka, Lionel Messi), Uruguay has blonde haired guys on their roster, and some of Brazil’s most legendary players were of African descent (aka, Pelé and and Ronaldinho).
Diversity is beautiful, culture is everywhere you look, and when those elements come together, it can bring about one love that we all just feel in our spirit. Maybe it sounds like a generalization, but over the years I have learned not to argue that kind of power since it exists in the world. The Super Bowl halftime show is a great example of this truth, to say the least. Moreover, the fact that a purely Latin performance happened on the biggest day of a very American game says a lot. It gives me hope that people really can become more unified and accepting moving forward. Maybe, someday, our passports and driver’s licenses’ will just say “World” instead of the labels our countries give us so that we can all be reminded on a consistent basis that we are all a part of the same human experience on this planet. Or, more accurately, my imagination has gotten the best of me once again. But even in my optimism and love for Mexico and Latin music (if that wasn’t clear before), we also have a long way to go.