The young girl was surrounded by other young children also enclosed in cages, a move that was presumably to highlight the devastating way some children have been treated at the Mexican-U.S. border due to current immigration policies.
“These moments were captured just minutes before we hit the stage last night,” Lopez captioned a backstage video, showing her embracing loved ones and being greeted by excited young performers just before she hit the stage for the highly-anticipated performance.
“All I want my girls, the little girls on stage with me and all over the world to know is how to use their voices and be proud of everything they are,” she continued. “Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages. We are proud to recognize that all of us together are what makes this beautiful country truly great. ✨❤️??.”
The video also showed Lopez getting last-minute hair and make-up touch-ups, and hugging New Zealand choreographer, Parris Goebel, who worked with creative directors, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo (aka Nappytabs), to bring the show-stopping performance together. “Have fun, have fun!” Goebel encouraged the superstar, seconds before the show.
As well as making her mark with the powerful cages moment, Emme also belted out, “Born in the USA,” alongside Lopez, who proudly wore a feathered coat reflecting the Puerto Rican flag.
“I don’t think we were trying to be heavy-handed with anything,” Tabitha told BuzzFeed News about the performance's messaging on Monday. "I think we were just celebrating all that is beautiful about this country -- Puerto Rico being part of this country.”
“Watching half time on delay. you know how we make america great again? celebrating our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters!!!!! come on @JLo,” tweeted Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, whose wife, Marisol, is Puerto Rican.
watching half time on delay. you know how we make america great again? celebrating our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters!!!!! come on @JLo
In an interview with ET leading up Lopez's performance, Tabitha noted the significance of having such pride showcased in the Latino hub of Miami.
"What better place than Miami to have two Latina women at this time in a very machismo, manly sport, doing it in front of a huge Latin audience?" she said. "It's pretty epic and pretty big."
Tabitha added that working with Lopez on the halftime show was a dream come true.
"I have such a great friendship, relationship with Jennifer. We've been working together for the last 10 years, but one of the things we haven't been able to do together is the Super Bowl. It's been on our bucket list," she shared. "So this year, doing the Super Bowl, it's surreal. It's exciting to share it with someone that you work with who is also a friend."