Rihanna Explains Why She Turned Down the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Since last year, reports have indicated that Rihanna apparently turned down an opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl. When Jay-Z, fresh off of signing an entertainment and social justice deal with the NFL, was asked by reporters if Rihanna would reconsider, he said, “You have to ask her.”

Well, a writer at Vogue recently did ask Rihanna in an interview if it was true that she turned down the halftime performance in solidarity with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who Jay-Z apparently didn’t speak to before signing the social justice deal. (Kaepernick still remains an unsigned free agent after a series of national anthem protests in 2016 and 2017.) “Absolutely,” Rihanna said. “I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people.

Rihanna Super Bowl
Rihanna attends an event for ‘FENTY BEAUTY’ at Lotte World Tower on September 17, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.
Han Myung-Gu—WireImage via Getty Images

“I just couldn’t be a sellout,” she added. “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.”

The singer and fashion mogul went on to criticize President Donald Trump, who has lambasted Kaepernick for his protests.

“People are being murdered by war weapons that they legally purchase,” she said. “This is just not normal. That should never, ever be normal. And the fact that it’s classified as something different because of the color of their skin? It’s a slap in the face. It’s completely racist.”

She added: “Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president.”

As for who actually will perform at this year’s Super Bowl, the NFL confirmed last month that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will take the stage. The game is set for Feb. 2, 2020.

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