Last month, Billboard confirmed that Maroon 5 is set to perform during the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show — but that might only be part of the story. Last week, it was reported that Rihanna turned down next year’s halftime slot in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The controversy around Kaepernick began when the then-San Francisco 49ers QB started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 in protest of racial inequality in the U.S. Kaepernick hasn’t played professionally since March 2017 and he filed a grievance against the league and its owners last fall for conspiring to not hire him. Reportedly, Rihanna didn’t like how the NFL handled the controversy and said no when the halftime show came calling.
It doesn’t seem like a lot of artists would turn down the visibility of the most-watched televised event of the year, but Rihanna reportedly isn’t alone. Below, Rihanna and four other musicians who voiced their opinions about the Super Bowl halftime show.
In August 2016, Adele took the opportunity during her show at Los Angeles’ Staples Center to address rumors of her performing at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.
“First of all, I’m not doing the Super Bowl,” she told the audience. “I mean, come on, that show is not about music. And I don’t really — I can’t dance or anything like that. They were very kind, they did ask me, but I did say no.”
Later, the NFL came out with an official statement saying that Adele was never offered the 2017 halftime show.
JAY-Z let his opinions about performing at the event be known in “Apeshit,” the lead single from The Carters’ Everything Is Love, his joint album with wife Beyoncé.
“I said no to the Super Bowl/ You need me, I don’t need you/ Every night we in the endzone/ Tell the NFL we in stadiums too,” JAY-Z raps in the song, before also calling out the Grammys for winning no awards out of his eight nominations.
According to Entertainment Tonight, a source close to Rihanna revealed on Thursday (Oct. 18) that she was offered the opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl 2019 halftime show but refused in support of Kaepernick.
“Rihanna was the front-runner for next year’s Super Bowl halftime show,” the source said. “CBS and the NFL reached out to Rihanna first, who after thinking about the offer, decided to pass due to the NFL and the situation regarding players kneeling.”
In addition to Rihanna, P!nk was also contacted by the NFL to perform at the halftime show, according to ET. Due to the lengthy negotiations process, the singer decided to move on from the offer despite singing the national anthem at the 2017 Super Bowl.
Cardi B has been a consistent supporter of Kaepernick’s ever since her speech at the 2017 MTV VMAs, where she said, “Colin Kaepernick: As long as you kneel with us, we gonna standing for you, baby.” So it wasn’t a surprise in February when she encountered TMZ paparazzi and said she refused to perform at the Super Bowl until Kaepernick is rehired.
Fast-forward to now, however, and Cardi is rumored to be in talks to join her “Girls Like You” partners Maroon 5 onstage at the 2019 halftime show. They do have the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song for the fourth week in a row, after all. (Neither Maroon 5 nor Cardi B’s involvement in the Super Bowl have been confirmed or announced by the NFL as of yet.)