Sunny’s Side: Latinas, Kobe and A Game

Vamos Shakira, Vamos J-Lo

They say ignorance is bliss, but sometimes I wonder….

“The announcement in the fall that these two Latina stars would share top billing on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium — in the middle of that other face-off between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers — left me shook.”

Wait, what?!

New York Post writer Chuck Arnold opined on Jennifer Lopez not being the headlining act for the Super Bowl halftime show yesterday. For a moment, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But, that moment flew faster than Shakira can shake her hip to the right. 

Yes, Jennifer Lopez is a huge star. She is having “her moment” as Arnold writes. But, that’s on the screen or whenever those entertainment shows talk or the entertainment sites write about her or her relationship with Alex Rodriguez.

In…this…country. 

There’s no denying JLo is a star. She is known around the world probably more for her movies than singing. But, Shakira is a worldwide star. 

Embed from Getty Images

Really, though, this shouldn’t be about who is the bigger star. It should be about celebrating two LATINAS headlining the SUPER BOWL halftime show. 

Did you hear me? Two LATINAS!!!! 

That’s unreal! 

I get where Mr. Arnold is coming from. Jennifer Lopez is a huge star and, yes, she is having a moment. Further still, yes, the NFL does have a deal with Roc Nation, of which Shakira is part of their fold. But Arnold has a U.S. perspective.

Therein lies the problem with the story. It’s a U.S. perspective for a game that will be watched by the world. And that is exactly what the NFL is hoping for — more eyes watching globally, expanding their reach as far as possible. 

For all her U.S. stardom, J-Lo wouldn’t move the global needle on her own. Add in Shakira and well…Waka Waka. 

I may not watch much of the game — I once “watched” the Super Bowl only through Twitter —  but I will tune in for the halftime show. Not because it’s Shakira. Not because it’s Jennifer Lopez. 

Because Latinas will not be ignored any longer. 

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On Kobe and his Latino fans

The death of Kobe Bryant hit the sports world hard this week. It was unlike anything in recent memory. Discussing it with my oldest son brought back reminders of Princess Diana or Michael Jackson. Bryant’s death, and that of his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday was felt around the world. 

In as much as the world felt it, the pain was particularly felt in Los Angeles, especially with the large Hispanic Laker fan base. 

While non-Hispanic journalists wondered publicly why horn players and a drummer were playing music at LA Live near the makeshift Kobe memorial, Mexicans and Mexican Americans didn’t take long to figure out it was a banda. Banda Imperio to be exact, playing the song “Un Puno de Tierra” to honor the Bryants.

Soon after, a full mariachi ensemble was performing in the plaza. Not for their moment of fame, or to gain publicity. Just because it felt like the right thing to do, to pay tribute to a legend who they had embraced.

Bryant once said about Hispanic fans (NBC Los Angeles), “When I got here, those fans were the ones who embraced me the most.”

His wife, Vanessa, was the daughter of an immigrant. He learned Spanish so he could speak the language of so much of L.A.  And, he embraced them as much as they did him.

“He came at the perfect moment, when L.A. had become more brown,” professor Jose Alamillo (Cal State Channel Islands) told the LA Times. “He became our Latino superstar.”

It wasn’t just that he married a Latina or that he spoke the language. What many saw on the court reflected the Hispanic community. Hard working, doing your job and doing it right, playing hurt, no excuses – all characteristics that make up the infamous Hispanic work ethic of our parents and ancestors. Bryant carried that into his post-career life as well.

But, Kobe did it with style. Make no mistake. We Hispanics do love our style

That’s all gone now. Uno de nosotros is gone now. Healing, as with any death, will take time for Kobe fans. But, it may be even longer still before they find someone they can embrace and who will embrace them like Bryant.

Descansa en paz.

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The Game

Seeing as how we’re a sports site, we should probably say a few words about Sunday’s game – the Super Bowl.

On paper, it is setting up to be one of the more intriguing and high quality match-ups in recent times. Two young, star quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) and Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers). Young stars on both sides of the ball like Nick Bosa (49ers) and Sammy Watkins (Chiefs).

What’s not to love about this game? Nada.

Vegas still has the Chiefs – as of post time – as 1.5 favorites to win. Head Coach Andy Reid is a sentimental favorite of fans, media and even some former Philadelphia Eagles players of his. But, the 49ers have been on a roll with an efficient offense and stud defense.

Who’s your pick to win? When people have asked me this week, I’ve said it’s a crap shoot. Whichever team controls the line of scrimmage, I say, will win. Watch who controls the line of scrimmage early as that will set the tone for the game.

In the #predictionsdoomedtofail department, I pick the 49ers to beat the Chiefs, 37-21.

Don’t @ me later if you win, Chiefs fans. 🙂

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SUNNY SIDES

  • Houston Astros hire Dusty Baker as manager (ESPN)
  • Baker an old school choice for new gen Astros (FanGraphs)
  • ESPN continuing to grow Spanish-language broadcasting (Front Office Sport)
  • Strong start for Mexican team in Olympic qualifying (FutMex Nation)