The Brief: At the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, Shakira stuck out her tongue repeatedly and made a distinct sound, sparking a variety of memes about the gesture and its meaning.
The Super Bowl LIV Pepsi Halftime Show featured iconic performances from both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira and was widely lauded as an epic spectacle. One moment, in particular, stole the internet’s attention: when Shakira looked directly into the camera, stuck her tongue out, and made a “louloulouloulou” sound. This clip has gone viral online with many “Shakira tongue memes” comparing this expression to similar ones and pointing to situations in which people exude the same energy as Shakira’s.
Greatest moment in Super Bowl history pic.twitter.com/eUswfanHhK
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) February 3, 2020
Many people recognized this expression as zaghrouta: a way to express joy in Arab cultures, often used at weddings.
This is called zaghrouta. It is a way to express joy or happiness in Arab culture. Elements of it can also be found in other cultures even as far as music in the Balkans. https://t.co/bixdVn34vF
— Bozi Tatarevic (@hoonable) February 3, 2020
Others cited Shakira’s hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia as the possible origin of this expression. As Shakira was born in Columbia and her father is Lebanese, it’s possible that this gesture had multiple meanings for her.
— lina (@linamdiazv_) February 3, 2020
This woman yelling at cat meme illustrates Twitter’s obsession with Shakira’s “tongue thing.”
— Matty Beamish (@BeamishMatty) February 3, 2020
me after my dad tells me to stop watching that shakira tongue video pic.twitter.com/77hhMBKrqm
— JoeJoe Rabbit (@noto_joey15) February 3, 2020
Shakira was influenced by this guy pic.twitter.com/k2Md1ODu9U
— Dylon Hopp (@DylonHopp) February 3, 2020
— bryan (@brybrybaggins) February 3, 2020
Shakira tryna be Josh Rivera so bad pic.twitter.com/Dc4VLHjpuV
— David King (@hoesuueee) February 3, 2020
i go ooo ooo you go ahh ahh pic.twitter.com/JK1OGnlQBO
— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) February 3, 2020
the turkey who gets pardoned on Thanksgiving https://t.co/897qyYtRRm
— Jordan Moreau (@jordanmoreau_) February 3, 2020
When I ask my 2-year-old if he’s ready for bed https://t.co/WiyA7y1p5n
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) February 3, 2020