Shakira's meme-worthy Super Bowl tongue wag is actually a nod to her Arab culture

Shakira’s performance turned out to be the Super Bowl’s most meme-able moment after her on-stage tongue-wagging took Twitter by storm on Sunday night. But while people continue to compare the clip from the halftime show to a classic goat meme and even some clips from SpongeBob, others have taken to social media to clarify the cultural significance behind the gesture.

Shakira became the Super Bowl's most meme-able moment. Now, people are clarifying what her tongue wagging was really about. (Photo: Getty Images)

The 43-year-old singer and dancer gave the performance of a lifetime, alongside fellow Latina artist Jennifer Lopez, as she famously shook her hips. Still, it was when Shakira shook her tongue into the camera during her performance that received the most attention as audiences immediately took to social media to call attention to the unexpected moment.

Apart from the animal comparisons, many others also noted an uncanny resemblance to SpongeBob SquarePants characters SpongeBob and Patrick Star calling upon the magic conch shell during an episode of the cartoon.

Despite the funny memes, however, others were able to answer the questions that many had asked about what exactly had taken place, and why.

The gesture, which is called “zaghrouta,” is typically used by women in the Middle East and North Africa during times of celebration. Twitter users went on to point out that Shakira is half Lebanese from her father’s side. In fact, her name means “grateful” in Arabic.

People have since praised her for including it in her performance and inciting the cultural lesson.

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