Robin Rihanna Fenty, the Barbados-born singer whom we all know simply as Rihanna, revealed why she turned down the offer to perform at the NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2018.
Speaking in an interview with Vogue, Rihanna disclosed that she refused to perform at the most-watched US TV event as a sign of support of Colin Kaepernick, the first US football player to protest racism by refusing to stand during the US anthem. The NFL player opted to kneel in protest against police brutality and racial inequality, sparking massive criticism and even a brush-off from US President Donald Trump.
“I couldn’t dare do that,” Rihanna said about her participation in the halftime show. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
Since his 2016 protest, Kaepernick has not played with the NFL, leading most to speculate that ha had been “blackballed.”
That year, the NFL hired Maroon 5 and Travis Scott for the performance. This year, the league has hired Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to produce a performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show is a pop performance with roots back to the 1960s; initially featuring marching bands. In the 1980s, the show began hiring popular singers and musical acts.
Rihanna is one of the highest-selling singers of all time; in 2015 becoming the first performer to sell 100 million singles.
Kaepernick became the official representative of sportswear giant Nike (itself a scandal in 2018) and made more headlines this year after he made the company to take down shoes decorated with a historic Betsy Ross-themed US flag ahead of the 4th of July holiday.