Rihanna says she turned down Super Bowl halftime show over Colin Kaepernick controversy

Clémence Michallon
Rihanna arrives for her fifth annual Diamond Ball on 12 September, 2019 in New York City: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Rihanna has said she declined an offer to perform at the Super Bowl in solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

The singer commented on the situation during an interview with Vogue, in which she also spoke out against President Donald Trump.

Asked whether it was true that she had turned down the gig due to Kaepernick’s situation, Rihanna answered: “Absolutely.

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

Rihanna continued, adding in an apparent reference to the National Football League, which organises the championship every year: “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.”

Rumours that Rihanna had declined to play during the half-time show, an event that typically attracts millions of viewers, emerged in October 2018.

Kaepernick began sitting, then kneeling, while the National Anthem was played before games in 2016, resulting in a wider protest in 2017.

He was making a statement against the oppression of black people and people of colour.

The athlete later filed a grievance against the NFL alleging that he was being kept off the field due to his activism. His case was settled in February.

That same month, Cardi B said she had declined to perform at the Super Bowl in a show of support for Kaepernick.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have been confirmed as the half-time performers for this year’s event.

The Independent has contacted representatives of the NFL for comment.

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