Rihanna Turned Down 2019 Halftime Show to Support Colin Kaepernick

Rihanna turned down an offer to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2019 to show support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

In an interview with Vogue magazine, the nine-time Grammy Award winner was asked if she refused offer to perform at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia last year. Rihanna confirmed the rumor, saying she did not want to be a “sellout” or an “enabler” by performing at the event.

“Absolutely,” she told the magazine. “I couldn’t dare do that. 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.”

The event was headlined by the band Maroon 5 and featured rapper Travis Scott and Atlanta-based rapper Big Boi.

In 2016, Kaepernick made national headlines after he took a knee during the national anthem at a preseason game. His action launched the widespread and much-discussed #TakeAKnee protests that sought to call attention to police brutality and racial injustice.

Politicians have since weighed in on the protests. In 2018, President Donald Trump slammed Kaepernick and other NFL teams and players for taking a knee during the national anthem. Trump tweeted that any NFL player who kneels during the anthem should be “suspended without pay.”

“The NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love,” Trump previously tweeted.

“Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” he continued.

In 2017, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, claiming the league’s executives and team owners were colluding to keep teams from signing them, ESPN previously reported. Reid and Kaepernick reached a settlement with the league in February, according to the publication.

Kaepernick is currently a free agent and wants to play football again. In August, Kaepernick shared a video on Twitter of a clock showing that he has been out of work for 889 days. “5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready,” Kaepernick can be heard saying over a montage of him doing training exercises in the video.

Other celebrities and activists have voiced their support for Kaepernick’s return to the NFL. In an interview with TMZ Sports in September, Martin Luther King III said he believes that if fans were to boycott the NFL until Kaepernick returned, the league would offer him a deal quickly.

“What would change it overnight is if the public decided, ‘Okay, we’re not going to watch,'” the human rights advocate told TMZ Sports.

King III commented that getting Kaepernick back into the league is not that simple, but said the industry should stop “blackballing” the former quarterback, calling him “one of the most talented quarterbacks even today, probably.”

“There are times when you need a strategic quarterback who has a proven record, and, certainly, Colin Kaepernick is one of those,” King III said.

In August, Kaepernick appeared to criticize rapper Jay-Z after the rapper said “we’ve moved past kneeling” while discussing his new partnership with the NFL. In an Instagram post, Kaepernick mentioned Reid and Miami Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson II who continue to kneel during the national anthem.

“My Brothers [Reid, Stills, and Wilson] continue to fight for the people, even in the face of death threats,” Kaepernick wrote in an Instagram post. “They have never moved past the people and continue to put their beliefs into action. Stay strong Brothers!!!”

Jay-Z’s new partnership with the NFL enlists the rapper’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, to act as the league’s “live music entertainment strategist.” The rapper will also consult the league and its activism campaign called Inspire Change.

“We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. We get stuck on Colin not having a job, you know what I’m saying? And this is more than that,” Jay-Z previously said in a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, The Los Angeles Times previously reported.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.