What Is Zaghrouta? Shakira's Tongue-Flicking Gesture At The Super Bowl Halftime Show Explained

Shakira
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Shakira performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2, 2020 in Miami.

The Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show that took place Sunday night (Feb. 2) at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida has everyone talking.

From the epic performances by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, to Bad Bunny and J Balvin bringing their reggaeton swag to the stage, to Lopez’s daughter making a cameo, it's hard to pick a favorite part.

One of the moments that really sparked a wave of memes on social media, however, was when during her set, Shakira made a high-pitched noise and wagged her tongue at the camera right before singing “Hips Don’t Lie.” 

Though fans were caught off guard, this expression is called a Zaghrouta and it pays homage to Shakira’s -- who is half Colombian and half Lebanese -- Middle Eastern roots. 

A Zaghrouta, as explained by Arab America, is “best described in English as ‘ululation.’ It is a form of a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound representing trills of joy. It is produced by emitting a high-pitched loud voice accompanied by a rapid back and forth movement of the tongue.” 

This gesture is often used by women in the Middle East and North Africa to express joy and celebration, and it's commonly used at weddings, engagement parties, and the birth of a new baby. In Shakira’s case, representing her cultures at the Super Bowl Halftime Show was a celebration of its own.  

In addition to the Zaghrouta, Shak honored her Colombian heritage by dancing Champeta and Mapal√©, two popular Afro-Colombian dances. Further proving her “hips don’t lie,” she also flaunted her killer belly dancing skills. 

Relive the entire performance below.

Super Bowl 54

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