Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will salute Kobe Bryant during Super Bowl halftime show

Shakira (left) and Jennifer Lopez regard their upcoming Sunday Super Bowl halftime show performance as an empowering moment, as they explained during a Thursday press conference in Miami.
(David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

The two vocal stars hope their performances will be especially empowering for young Latina girls

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will pay tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The two pop vocal stars announced their planned salute during a Thursday press conference at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, where they are set to perform midway through the big game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Their tribute and the game will take place exactly one week after Bryant died in a helicopter crash, near Los Angeles, that also claimed the lives of his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people.

“Life is so fragile, and that’s why we have to try to live every moment as intensely as we can. I think we will all be remembering Kobe on Sunday, and we’ll be celebrating life and celebrating diversity in this country,” Shakira told reporters. “I’m sure he’d be very proud to see the message we are trying to convey onstage that day.”

The message will be one of empowerment, the two singers vowed of their historic pairing. Never before has Super Bowl halftime show featured two Latina singers headlining the halftime show.

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“That statement alone to me is empowering,” said Lopez, a New York native whose parents immigrated from Puerto Rico. “When I think of my daughter, when I think of all the little girls in the world, to be able to have that (and) to see that two Latinas (are) doing this in this country at this time, it’s just very empowering for us. ...

"(With Shakira) being from Barranquilla (in Colombia), me being from the Bronx, the two of us could have never imagined that we’d be playing at the Super Bowl one day. My mom and dad, if you asked them, would you rather have the Jets in the Super Bowl this year or to see their daughter standing up there representing women, and Latinas, and Americans, and everything that I am and Shakira is, I think they would pick this. I’m very, very proud to be here and to be able to have this moment and very grateful to be able to do that.”

Lopez also said that Bryant’s sudden death should be instructive for others.

“It’s reminding us again how fragile life is, and how we have to appreciate every single moment, and how we have to love people when they’re here and not wait. It can be taken away from us so easily,” said Lopez, who invoked Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and the Bryants’ other three children.

“Then I think about Vanessa as a mom and losing her best friend and partner, and losing her child,” Lopez said. “I think how awful that must be for her right now. ... I’ve just been praying that God guides her through every moment because she has three more babies to take care of.”