Rihanna Confirms Rumors She Turned Down Super Bowl Halftime Show: 'I Just Couldn't Be a Sellout'
Rihanna is explaining her decision to decline last year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In a new interview for Vogue‘s November cover story, the singer confirmed rumors that she had turned down the opportunity, citing disagreements with the NFL.
“I couldn’t dare do that,” she continued. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. 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.”
Last month, the NFL announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira would be the headlining acts for the halftime show on Feb. 2, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The announcement came after JAY-Z teamed up with the NFL to advise as a “live music entertainment strategist.” Through the deal, the rapper’s entertainment and sports company Roc Nation — also Rihanna’s record label — will consult the NFL on live events, including the Super Bowl halftime show.
In October 2018, it was reported that “Work” singer had “declined” the opportunity to headline Super Bowl LIII scheduled for February 2019.Maroon 5, joined by Travis Scott and Big Boi, ultimately ended up with the spot.
“Yes they asked her and yes, she declined,” a source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE at the time, adding that the decision was likely made in support of Kaepernick.
“That’s certainly what everyone at the NFL believes,” the insider added. “I don’t work with Rihanna so I don’t know what her camp told them, but the word within the organization is that’s why she said no.”
The football player, 31, is known for starting the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016, where he declined to stand for the national anthem at games in protest of police brutality and the racial injustices faced by people of color in America.
In her Vogue interview, Rihanna also opened up about her highly anticipated upcoming album. — while gently imploring fans to give her a break.
“I have been trying to get back into the studio. It’s not like I can lock myself in for an extended amount of time, like I had the luxury of doing before. I know I have some very unhappy fans who don’t understand the inside bits of how it works,” she said. “But they’ve earned it. They got me here.”
“I like to look at it as a reggae-inspired or reggae-infused album,” the musician continued. “It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae. But you’re going to feel the elements in all of the tracks … Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood.”
“It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves,” she added. “It’s always the same high. Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work.”