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Cardi B's refusal to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show sends an important message

Cardi B joined the growing list of celebrities who have decided to sit this one out.

File: Colin Kaepernick Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE SUPER BOWL kicks off on the first weekend of February and it looks like the NFL are still scrambling to find an artist willing to play at the massive sports event in light of all the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick. 

Back in October, it emerged that Rihanna declined an invitation to perform at the event. Entertainment Tonight reported that Rihanna “stands with the players and Colin Kaepernick” and has made her decision not to play at the Super Bowl “based on the situation regarding players kneeling”.

If you don’t know what the “kneeling situation” is, here’s an explainer. Long story short, Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem at a football game in August 2016 because he did not want to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.” He said:

To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. 

As time went on, other NFL players decided to join Kaepernick in protest, as did athletes involved in other sports, like Megan Rapinoe from the US women’s soccer team. Kaepernick was essentially blacklisted from the sport and hasn’t played in the NFL in 23 months. 

Following all of this, it’s clear that famous people of colour in the music world aren’t too excited to associate with the NFL. Jay Z famously slammed the organisation in his new album with Beyoncé, where he rapped “I said no to the Super Bowl. You need me, I don’t need you / Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.” 

Beyonce Announces She's Pregnant With Twins Source: Bay Area News Group/TNS/ABACA

According to PAPER, Jay Z and Rihanna are also joined by Usher, Outkast, Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, Mary J. Blige and Big Boi in turning down the concert.

After Jay Z, Rihanna and all of the others turned down the Super Bowl, the NFL announced that Maroon 5 would be performing at 2019′s event, however those plans are becoming more and more shaky.

NY: Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball - Show Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Rolling Stone published an article last night in which Cardi B’s rep confirmed that the NFL had a conversation with Cardi about a potential performance alongside Maroon 5, but he rapper followed Rihanna and Jay Z’s example and decided to decline the invitation, in solidarity with Kaepernick and the other protesting sports stars. Cardi’s rep said:

There were talks about it, but she was not particularly interested in participating because of how she feels about Colin Kaepernick and the whole movement. 

Meanwhile, Kylie Jenner’s boyfriend Travis Scott revealed that he would join Maroon 5 at the halftime show. All of the bad press surrounding the halftime show (and the growing list of celebrities reluctant to associate with the Super Bowl) might lead to Travis Scott or Maroon 5 dropping out of the gig too. According to Variety, Jay Z has been “attempting to talk Scott out of performing”, and Meek Mill called Travis out publicly on Twitter shortly after the announcement

Cardi B’s refusal to play at the Super Bowl isn’t going to completely destroy the NFL or anything, but it’s certainly going to make things much more inconvenient for the organisation. There aren’t many people in the music industry who’ll want to (or can afford to) cross Jay Z, Cardi B, Rihanna and Lauryn Hill. It won’t be long until the NFL begin to regret their treatment of Colin Kaepernick and other football players who took a stand against white supremacy and police brutality in America. 

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Kelly Earley

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