Viewers were quick to criticize Rihanna for her seemingly hypocritical decision to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, despite initially boycotting it in 2018 in a show of solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had started a kneeling campaign to draw attention to police brutality.
According to People Magazine at the time, a source close to the singer confirmed that she was indeed offered an opportunity to perform alongside Maroon 5 but ultimately declined. This news attracted the attention of celebrities such as Amy Schumer, who took to social media and urged Maroon 5 not to take part in the event as well and also announced that she would not be appearing in any of the associated Super Bowl commercials.
The kneeling campaign has been seen by many as a powerful symbol of protest against racial inequality and injustice which we still see in some areas of society, but mostly during NFL games. In support of this movement, Rihanna made the decision to forego her highly coveted spot at one of the biggest events on U.S television and declared that she will no longer take part in shows or activities related to it. Subsequently, Amy Schumer echoed her sentiment and called upon Maroon 5, who had already signed up for the performance, to back out too – challenging them why they were not ‘kneeling next their brothers’ if they wanted to avoid being complicit in such widespread injustices.
By refusing her invitation to play at the Super Bowl and encouraging others to join her boycott, Rihanna sparked discussion over where people stand when it comes tackling racism in the hope that more people will start actively participating and take tangible steps towards creating change.
Well, as the most recent halftime show on Sunday proved, Rihanna did not follow through on her boycott. People didn’t let her live it down either.
Rihanna is the biggest sellout of the past 5 years, I support Kaepernick in 2019 so I decline to do the SB halftime show, funny how people change up, I'm not being woke, she's showing how much she actually cared about Kaepernick being blacklisted, not at all!
— I Am Amanda (@BehindDemisLin3) February 12, 2023
Rihanna is pretty much what I expected of her: out of shape, limited vocal range, generally dull sounding. Better at marketing herself than performing.
— J. Myrle Fuller (@fullerwx) February 13, 2023
— Joseph Dear (@Metalsandman999) February 13, 2023
Rihanna turned down performing in Super Bowl 2019 in solidarity with Kaepernick. So….wassup? What changed?@rihanna
— PizzaLover (@LoveCopperBoo) February 13, 2023
Anyone remember when Rihanna said she wouldn’t watch football again until Kaepernick was back in the nfl
— Damien Wilson (@DamienRWilson) February 13, 2023
@rihanna remember when you turned down performing at the Super Bowl in 2019 for dumbass reasons??? But 4 years later it’s all good, Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been relevant…..Better pay now????
— Ryan Smith (@pandalorian84) February 13, 2023