Monday, September 26, 2022

Rihanna To Headline Half-Time Show

Rihanna will perform at the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12 as the N.F.L. enters the first year of a new deal with Apple Music as primary sponsor of the halftime show, replacing Pepsi.

The NY Times reports it is the first scheduled return to the stage for an artist who last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in early 2018, and whose most recent solo album, “Anti,” was released in January 2016.

The announcement is an about-face for the singer, who was among the artists who rebuffed invitations to perform on football’s biggest stage in support of Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who has been unable to find a new team since he became a free agent in March 2017. Kaepernick accused the league of blackballing him because of his kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality toward Black people.

Facing player protests and an impending loss of cachet for the show, the NFL in 2019 signed on Jay-Z and Roc Nation, the rapper’s entertainment and sports company, as “live music entertainment strategist,” to consult on the Super Bowl halftime show and contribute to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change.

Rihanna is both managed by Roc Nation and signed to its record label, according to the company’s website.

“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn. A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment,” Jay-Z said in a statement.

In the years since Rihanna’s last album release, she has appeared as a guest on a small handful of singles by other artists — including DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 2017 — and intermittently teased new music of her own, though none has materialized.

As a result, what would be Rihanna’s ninth studio album has taken on a near-mythic quality among fans — who regularly refer to it as “R9” — even as the singer has focused instead on projects like her fashion and beauty brands. Earlier this year, Rihanna had her first child with the rapper ASAP Rocky.

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