How Shakira's Arabic zaghrouta during the Super Bowl broke the internet

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Monday 03 February 2020 12:00

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez's performance at the Super Bowl was always going to be a moment, especially for those of us for whom 'Hips Don't Lie' and 'Jenny From The Block' will always be the anthems of our adolescence.

But no one was expecting the most talked-about moment to be a two-second clip of Shakira performing what the world now knows to be an Arabic ululation.

To many, it sounded like a high-pitched warble, but in fact it is what's known as zaghrouta – a traditional Arabic expression of happy emotions​.

Presumably unaware that Shakira was invoking her paternal heritage here, people expressed confusion at the iconic moment, which others were quick to correct.

It also (perhaps predictably) became one of the most memed clips of the night.

Such reactions may be understandable, but there were those who ridiculed the singer without bothering to educate themselves on what they were watching and its cultural significance.

Ultimately, Shakira used her platform to amplify her heritage, and for that we have to stan. If only the rest of the internet could stop mocking her for it, that would be great.

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