When you think of America, you probably think of three distinct things: football, burgers, and controversy. The Super Bowl has all of these things. In recent years, professional football has received backlash from various angles, causing one of America’s favorite past times to become a hot topic. From medical professionals warnings of the severity of concussions to athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem, the NFL has been under constant fire. This year’s game, Super Bowl LIII, features the New England Patriots and LA Rams. This will be the first time the Rams head to the Super Bowl since returning to Los Angeles in 2016.
The Super Bowl halftime show has been a milestone achievement for artists since its creation in 1967. Achieving this feat was once equivalent to winning a Grammy. After recent incidents, including Nike’s commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick, the once desired spot has become a beacon of bad press for artists. Artists such as Cardi B and Rihanna publicly refused to perform in support of Kaepernick. Jay-Z joins Kaepernick’s side by also declining the offer and rapping about it in his hit song Ape Sh*t, “I said no the the Super Bowl/ You need me, I don’t need you.” Not only do artists want to stand against the NFL, but they are also interested in protecting their reputation. Performing at the Super Bowl in this climate has the potential to tank an artist’s career.
After months of speculation and desperation, the NFL was able to secure a performer: Maroon 5. This seemingly harmless choice received major backlash. Since Atlanta will be home to the Super Bowl this year, the NFL was expected to pick a R&B or hip-hop artist, but selected Maroon 5 instead. Since the announcement of their commitment to do the Super Bowl, Maroon 5 has yet to comment on their performance, leaving fans confused as to why they accepted the gig.
Just recently it was announced that Travis Scott and Big Boi, an Atlanta native, would be joining the pop rock band as special guests during the show. Scott, a rapper and six time Grammy nominee, explained to his fans that he only agreed to perform after the NFL agreed to make a $500,000 donation to a charity of his choice; he chose Dream Corps. Dream Corps is an organization dedicated to social justice by transforming the justice system, prioritizing the environment, and reducing hate culture until it is non existent. If you are interested in finding out more, or are inspired to help, here is the link: https://www.thedreamcorps.org/mission. Scott even alluded to Kaepernick in his tweet explaining his decision by saying: “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in”. Although not everyone may agree with his decision to perform, I think we can all commend him for using his platform for a greater purpose.
Whether you watch for the commercials, the halftime show, the actual game, or you don’t watch at all, Super Bowl LIII is gearing up to be a very memorable game.
Hughes, Hillary. “Travis Scott Wouldn’t Play Super Bowl Halftime Show Without Charitable Commitment From NFL: Exclusive.” Billboard, 13 Jan. 2019, www.billboard.com/articles/news/super-bowl/8493267/travis-scott-super-bowl-halftime-show-2019-charity-donation.
McDermott, Maeve. “RIP to the Super Bowl halftime show, no longer a cultural institution.” USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2019, http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2019/01/24/super-bowl-halftime-show-no-longer-cultural-institution/2668939002/.
Z, Jay. “Ape Shit.” EVERYTHING IS LOVE, Roc-A-Fella Records, 16 June 2018. YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbMqWXnpXcA.