Who Will Show Their Support For Kaepernick Tonight? Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Gladys Knight?
In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, Cardi B explained why she turned down the NFL’s offer to join Maroon 5 at tonight’s Super Bowl LIII halftime show, which gets over 100million views. “I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform,” she told the AP. “I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him.”
In October rumors started to circulate that NFL and CBS wanted Rihanna to be this year’s performer. She reportedly declined. It reported that she cited Colin Kaepernick in her reasoning. As reports emerged that Maroon 5 would perform, thousands began signing a Change.org petition asking Maroon 5 to “Drop Out of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine responded to the controversy by telling Entertainment Tonight, “You know, I think when you look back at every single halftime show, people just can;t – it’s this like insatiable urge to hate a little bit…I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy. It’s what it is. We expected it. We’d like to move on from it.” This statement riled some for its lack of understanding of the issue at large.
Behind the scenes Maroon 5, the NFL and CBS were reportedly “desperate” to find a person of color to perform along Adam Levine and crew. Variety reported that “more than a half-dozen” musicians of color declined. They included André 3000, Nicki Minaj, Lauryn Hill, Usher and Mary J. Blige.
OutKast’s Big Boi and Travis Scott then emerged as Super Bowl Half Time performers. Big Boi mainly has not spoken about the controversy. Instead, he has focused on another controversy. One that focuses on his hometown of Atlanta. Atlanta has a rich Hip Hop history. Hip Hop artists, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Lil Yackty, Soulja Boy, T.I, Lil Jon, Xscape, Future, 2 Chainz, Childish Gambino and so many more call Atlanta home. With Atlanta hosting the Super Bowl many believed it was wrong to choose Maroon 5, a rock band.
Travis Scott, on the other hand, has been faced with heavy criticism. Even Jay-Z reportedly tried to talk him out of taking the half time gig. Scott and his team knew they would be met with backlash and proactively donated $500,000 with the NFL to a nonprofit organization Dream Corps whose mission is to “close prison doors and open doors of opportunity for all.” As part of that announcement, Scott said: “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in.”
Around this same time, HBO aired LeBron James‘ The Shop in which is compared NFL to slavery, “In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams, and they got that slave mentality. And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the fuck I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.”
With amounting pressure, Scott’s team leaked to the press that Scott spoke with Kaepernick before his decision and the two had “mutual respect” for one another. A statement, Kaepernick disagrees with, retweeting his girlfriend’s tweet that said, “there is NO mutual respect,” shortly after.
There is also Super Bowl National Anthem singer Gladys Knight. When announcing that she will perform she said, “I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice. It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive sense of National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have found long and hard for all my life
With all the controversy around the Super Bowl and its half time show, I wonder will anyone pay tribute to Colin Kaepernick? And why not? We saw Nike bet on Kaepernick last fall and Nike saw a huge bump in their return on their investment.
Kaepernick brings in eyeballs. He brings in money. Arguably and most important he stands for something very much so on people’s minds. He represents a younger demographic that the NFL, musicians and networks that air games are desperate to appeal to.
Should Adam Levine wear a Kaepernick jersey or shirt? Should Travis Scott? How about Gladys Knight? If they did, would it now come across as disingenuous? Art artists who choose to perform tonight damned if they do, damned if they don’t?
LeBron James and Kevin Durant are proudly showing their support for Kaepernick. Are you? Will you?