Rihanna confirms she turned down Super Bowl halftime show: ‘I just couldn’t be a sellout’
Several reports came out in February about various artists turning down the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime show, and we now know at least one of those reports was true.
Vogue spoke in-depth with Rihanna for its November cover issue, and one of the topics was confirming her turning down the event. She says she did, and explained why she didn’t want to betray Colin Kaepernick.
I ask Rihanna if we can discuss politics. “How deep you wanna get?” she says. “However deep you’re willing to go,” I say. She signals that I may proceed, and I ask if it’s true that she turned down the Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. “Absolutely,” she says. “I couldn’t dare do that. 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.”
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contact with the 49ers following the 2016 season. He filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of collusion. He withdrew his grievence after accepting a settlement.
In addition to Rihanna, Cardi B also reportedly rejected the NFL’s offer of performing at the Super Bowl halftime show. And while Maroon 5 was the featured band for the event, Travis Scott joined the show and received criticism for his role.
Scott claimed he spoke with Kaepernick before accepting the job and reportedly “the two did not necessarily agree” but “they emerged from the conversation with mutual respect and understanding.” However, after that report became public, Kaepernick started retweeting tweets saying the two did not have a positive conversation.
Rihanna also made news earlier this year when she subtly called out Jay-Z for parterning with the NFL. She liked an Instagram post at the time by activist Shaun King that critiqued Jay-Z aligning with the NFL. This was interesting because Rihanna is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency.
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