Recently, singer and beauty guru Rihanna confirmed the reason behind turning down the opportunity to perform at last year’s Super Bowl halftime show. She admitted that she rejected the deal in support of Colin Kaepernick. The former quarterback was dropped from his NFL team, the 49ers, for taking the knee during the national anthem.
For those of you who are unaware of the significance of taking the knee, I’ll round it up for you now. Kneeling during the national anthem was a method in which footballers silently protests the social injustices faced by African-Americans in the United States. From police brutality, to unlawful behavior carried out against the community as a whole, this protest was supposed to help those with a big platform to raise awareness about the unjust treatment of the nation’s black citizens.
In an interview, Kaepernick said this: “To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s a significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
However, those who didn’t understand the underlying meaning behind Colin’s kneel saw this as an insult used to disrespect the nation they were so proud of. And that is when the quarterback and any other footballer who dared to “take the knee” started facing immense backlash from American audiences. Rather than trying to understand why this protest was a good thing, they mistook it for the opposite.
And that is precisely why Rihanna decided against performing at the Super Bowl. She said that she “wouldn’t sell out”. Instead, she chose to stand by her own morals and show solidarity with the former quarterback, using her own voice to represent the black community in the US.
In an interview with this month’s Vogue cover story, she explained her decision further.
“I couldn’t dare do that. Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout,” she says. “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.”
The slot was later given to the one-and-only Justin Timberlake, who wooed the audience with his setlist of JT classics and throwbacks. Let’s be honest though, no one can do it like our girl RiRi can. It’s just a shame that the NFL would much rather make money than stand up for what’s right.