Rihanna to headline half-time show at Super Bowl in Arizona, NFL has announced

In 2019, Rihanna turned down the chance to headline the half-time performance to show solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

Pop icon Rihanna will headline the half-time show at the Super Bowl in Arizona in February next year, the National Football League (NFL) has announced.

The nine-time Grammy winner revealed the news by tweeting a picture of an NFL-branded football on Sunday, September 25.

According to the NFL, this year’s 14-minute performance drew more than 120 million people, making it one of the most coveted slots in music.

NFL’s head of Music Seth Dudowsky said: "Rihanna is a once in a generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career.”

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    Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation entertainment company will help organise the performance, called the pop star a “woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn.

    He added: “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

    Earlier this year, the 2022 Super Bowl half-time show, which included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar, made history by receiving five Creative Arts Emmy nominations.

    Past Super Bowl half-time show performances include The Weeknd, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Prince and Madonna.

    The singer has promised to refund fans who were at the show.

    Rihanna turns down 2019 Super Bowl offer 

    Rihanna’s decision is a stark departure from her previous refusal to headline the performance in 2019 in order to show solidarity with NFL player, Colin Kaepernick.

    In the 2016 pre-season, San Francisco quarter-back Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem as opposed to the tradition of standing. It was the start of a protest movement that spread throughout the NFL. The protest drew stinging criticism and led to his departure from the 49ers.

    The former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback has not played in the NFL since 2016 after his choice to kneel during the pre-game national anthem sparked a global anti-racism campaign.

    He later sued the NFL, claiming that the league’s owners were conspiring to kick him out of the sport.

    Rihanna stated at the time that if she had accepted the position, she would have been an "enabler."

    She told Vogue magazine: "I couldn’t be a sell-out. There’s things within that organisation 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 US media reported earlier this week that Taylor Swift declined an offer to headline the show in order to continue re-recording several albums.