Rihanna on turning down the Super Bowl Halftime Show: “I just couldn’t be a sellout”

The singer declined to perform at the NFL showpiece's music event earlier this year in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick

Rihanna has explained why she turned down the chance to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show, confirming that she made her choice in order to show solidarity with exiled NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

The ‘Anti’ singer was invited to perform during the half-time music event of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta back in February, but she declined the invitation due, according to sources at the time, “to the NFL and the situation regarding players kneeling”. Maroon 5 performed instead along with special guests Travis Scott and OutKast rapper Big Boi.

Rihanna has now spoken about the situation in a new interview with Vogue, confirming that she “absolutely” turned down the chance to perform at the Super Bowl in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.


The former San Francisco 49ers player and prominent political activist attracted both praise and criticism back in 2016 when he refused to stand for the U.S. national anthem prior to NFL games — a form of protest he explained was a stand against racial inequality and police brutality in the US.

Asked by Vogue about the link between her support for Kaepernick and turning down the Super Bowl, Rihanna said she “couldn’t dare” perform at the halftime show.

“For what? Who gains from that? Not my people,” she said. “I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler.

“There’s things within that organisation that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”


Earlier this week, Rihanna announced details of her first book, which is being described as a “visual autobiography”.

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