Rihanna to headline Super Bowl Halftime Show, her first live performance in five years

Rihanna has confirmed she will be marking her first live performance in five years, by headlining one of the most high-profile events in music: the Super Bowl halftime show.


Rumours had been swirling since late last week that it would be RiRi taking to the stage at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on 12 February next year, for the Super Bowl LVII.

And now those rumours have been put to rest by a less than obvious tweet from the star, showing her lifting an NFL football in the air.

The singer had previously turned down the halftime headline slot in both 2018 and 2019 because of the NFL’s treatment of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, after he took the knee during the U.S. national anthem in 2016, in protest against racial injustice.

“I couldn’t dare do that,” Rihanna had said of her decision to Vogue in 2019. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sell-out. 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.”

However, the fact the nine-time Grammy winner is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, who have been responsible for the event’s production since 2020, will likely have played a part in the new decision.

Rihanna last appeared onstage in 2018, performing ‘Wild Thoughts’ with DJ Khaled, so this news marks something of a return to music for the star, who’s had an exceptionally successful time as a beauty mogul, after founding fashion house Fenty five years ago.


Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris

And with over 120 million having tuned-in to watch the previous halftime Super Bowl – which featured Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent in an Emmy Award-winning performance – it’s a major way in which to step back into the limelight.

TMZ reports that there have discussions for another artist to join Rihanna as a co-headliner, though nothing has yet been disclosed.

There had been rumours, too, that it would Taylor Swift who would been named the headliner. Swift has had an ongoing deal with Coca-Cola, and their rivals Pepsi had made way for Apple as the event’s lead sponsor for the first time earlier this year – leading many to speculate whether Swift would then be given the spot.

In fact, TMZ also reported that the NFL had asked Swift, but that she turned it down to focus on rerecording all six of the albums that were sold for $300 million by her previous manager Scooter Braun. Swift has thus far recorded two.

The news now, though, is squarely on Rihanna – who’s making one of the biggest of returns. And it’ll all be there for the world to see, beamed from State Farm Stadium on 12 February 2023.

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