NEW YORK (AP) — Rihanna will take center stage at February’s Super Bowl halftime show.
The singer who declined to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, will headline the 2023 Super Bowl, the NFL announced Sunday, along with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Apple Music. Rihanna posted a photo on Instagram of an arm outstretched holding an NFL football.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has exceeded expectations at every turn,” Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation is an executive producer of the show, said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists of all time. Self-made in business and entertainment.”
The Super Bowl will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 12. After several years of Pepsi’s sponsorship, the upcoming halftime show will be sponsored by Apple Music.
Rihanna previously said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl, which was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested the police brutality against black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
“I couldn’t dare. For what?” Rihanna told Vogue in 2019. “Who wins from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t sell out. I couldn’t be an enabler. There are things in that organization that I don’t agree with at all, and I wasn’t about to go and help them in any way,” she said of the league.
Kaepernick accused the NFL of colluding to keep him out of the league in a case that was eventually settled in early 2019.
In 2019, the NFL partnered with Roc Nation (who manages Rihanna) to help select performers for the Super Bowl and strategize the halftime show. The highly acclaimed 2022 halftime show featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige.
With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Her last album was “Anti” from 2016. Rihanna last made a public appearance at the Grammy Awards in 2018.
In the years since, Rihanna has occasionally teased her music back. Earlier this year, she had her first child with rapper ASAP Rocky.