Rihanna showed out during her Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show performance on Sunday (Feb. 12). But it wasn’t so long ago that she reportedly turned down the gig to show solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The former 49ers player began kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016 to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic oppression. At the time, Rihanna told Vogue in 2019, “I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I don’t agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of any service to them [the NFL] in any way.”
As Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, and their son graced the cover of British Vogue for their March 2023 issue, she finally explains why she was motivated to do the Super Bowl after previously rejecting it.
“So what changed? 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 explained about her decision to finally perform. “Two Super Bowls back-to-back, you know, representing the urban community, globally. It is powerful. It sends a really strong message.”
“Of course, raising a young Black man is one of the scariest responsibilities in life,” she added. “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.”
“It’s this knowing that you can do anything, even things that seem the craziest, like, ‘I’m going to say yes to the Super Bowl in the middle of postpartum?'” Rihanna described as she took the stage to reveal her second pregnancy. “What the heck am I thinking? But you’re geeked on a challenge like that because you know what your body just did. You feel this sense of ‘Nothing is impossible.’ It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I have not been on stage in seven years. Seven years! From zero to Super Bowl? That’s mental.”