A feathered cape Jennifer Lopez donned during the Super Bowl halftime show revealed troubling ignorance from noted publications, journalists, and Twitter users: They don’t seem to know that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.
In a costume change that occurred midway through the performance, Lopez trotted on stage in Miami draped in a bright red, white, and blue cape with the flag of the United States on the outside and the flag of Puerto Rico on the inside. Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, has often paid homage to the Caribbean island in concerts, albums, movies, and television. But on Sunday, her choice to wear both flags seemed to be a flashpoint for the geopolitically misinformed.
Among other moments in the performance with fellow Latina performer Shakira, fans and critics noted that Lopez put on a show that was highly political, focusing strongly on issues facing immigrants. But it was the Puerto Rican flag that drew most sharply the praise of those hoisting her up as an anti-Trump savior of immigrants…from Puerto Rico.
“Fans praise Jennifer Lopez for Puerto Rican pride, pro-immigration statement during #SuperBowl halftime show,” The Hollywood Reporter declared, along with an image of the mega star in wrapped in the flag of her heritage.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 3, 2020
You see, those hailing from Puerto Rico who wish to participate in work and activities in the States aren’t referred to as “immigrants” because they are already citizens of the United States, and have been since birth. In fact, every person born in Puerto Rico for more than 100 years has been a citizen of the great USA since birth. Their choice to come to any U.S. state is referred to simply as “travel,” or “moving,” if they make it permanent.
For those still confused by this: Not every part of the USA is a state. Some may recall from history lessons long ago that we actually only started out with a dozen or so states and then acquired territories and adjusted legal statuses along the way. Now we have 50, but we also have Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and yes, Puerto Rico, among others. And one of the most amazing things about becoming a U.S. territory is that every inhabitant becomes a U.S. citizen and enjoys every right and protection that comes with that.
This fact made Lopez’s choice to cover the great American singer Bruce Springsteen while proudly showing both flags the perfect choice for such a truly American person. Still, some missed the point. “Singing ‘Born in the USA’ while draped in a Puerto Rican flag is an excellent flex,” noted Greenpeace executive Matt Browner Hamlin.
Singing “Born in the USA” while draped in a Puerto Rican flag is an excellent flex
— Matt Browner Hamlin (@mattkbh) February 3, 2020
Following an act of Congress in 1917 after the Spanish-American War, every person born in Puerto Rico after April 25, 1898 was a natural-born American citizen. There was no requirement for race, language, heritage, or anything beyond a birth certificate. Every person born on that island and their ancestors were to be a part of this Great American Experiment.
Yet this citizenship that the left frequently seeks to offer people all over the world failed to move the modern left as they searched for a way to insult the sitting U.S. president. “Jennifer Lopez draws viral praise after singing ‘Born in the USA’ while wearing Puerto Rican flag during halftime show,” their Twitter accounts said, along with a colorful image of the show.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 3, 2020
What’s more American than seeing this country’s immigrant culture featured on stage in the Super Bowl halftime show?
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 3, 2020
Some noticed the stunning lack of education among writers and social media users quick to jump on the bandwagon of misinformation. “Puerto Rico IS part of the US. It’s like singing Born in the USA with a Texan flag,” one Twitter user pointed out.
Puerto Rico IS part of the US. It’s like singing Born in the USA with a Texan flag.
— Luis Cruz (@luiscf77) February 3, 2020
Most people seemed too proud of having cleverly noticed that Lopez was singing “Born in the USA” with a different flag to be bothered with the pesky fact that Puerto Rico is very much the USA. Attributing only one flag to the entire country could be construed as particularly narrowminded when one considers that, in addition to the territories, every state, branch of the military, and many other American organizations have their own flag.
Puerto Rico is part of the USA…
— (((Lauren))) (@GlitterBaum) February 3, 2020
Currently, nearly 6 million citizens in the continental United States identify as Puerto Rican while just over 3 million inhabit the island. While fans and perhaps even Lopez may have wanted to make a point about immigration during the Super Bowl, celebrating the mutual achievements and rich cultural history of the United States and Puerto Rico over the past century failed to send that political message.