Criticism began to fly once Rihanna completed her Super Bowl halftime show, including her decision to do it after previously declining.
Now, in a new cover story for British Vogue alongside A$AP Rocky and her son, RiRi explains the about-face to performing on one of the world’s biggest stages. Because it’s important to have people of color accomplish those goals.
“There’s still a lot of mending to be done in my eyes, but it’s powerful to break those doors, and have representation at such a high, high level and a consistent level,” Rihanna said before touching on last year’s performance orchestrated by West Coast legend Dr. Dre. “Two Super Bowls back-to-back, you know, representing the urban community, globally. It is powerful. It sends a really strong message.”
Rihanna initially declined an offer to perform at Super Bowl LIII in 2019 in support of quarterback Colin Kaepernick who was blackballed from the league for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial unjust in America.
“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 are 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,” she told Vogue in 2019.
But prior to her 2023 performance, she kept prolonging her decision until ultimately deciding to take the stage. Becoming a first-time mother also influenced her change of heart about the NFL.
“Of course raising a young Black man is one of the scariest responsibilities in life,” she said. “You’re like, ‘What am I leaving my kids to? This is the planet they’re gonna be living on?’ All of those things really start to hit differently.”
Here’s how Twitter reacted to her performance and finding out she was pregnant again:
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