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Black Performers Say 'No' to Super Bowl

Apparently, Black artists aren't feeling it.

Mary J. Blige

The CBS network is having a hard time getting popular Black artists to perform at the once "coveted" Super Bowl halftime gig.


After being turned down flat by superstar Rihanna, the beleaguered network can't pay Black performers to come on stage for the show on Feb. 3. In the two years since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police violence against Blacks, massive boycotts of the NFL by Blacks have occurred.

He was later blackballed from the racist league. Kaepernick has not yet returned to the field, but has managed to garner waves of support from a slew of notable celebrities and musicians.

So far on the list of artists who've said no are: Cardi B, Usher, Mary J. Blige and Andre 3000 from the rap duo Outkast.

Cardi B was one of Kaepernick's most vocal supporters and gave the former football star a shout-out during the 2017 MTV VMAs: "Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we're gonna be standing for you, baby. That's right, I said it."

There's that.

Organizers are said to have approached Lauryn Hill as well but no word has been given if she's accepted the invite.

Maroon 5 with lead singer Adam Levine was reported to have accepted the cursed gig, but even they backpedaled when a Change.org petition was started to stop them from performing. Apparently, the pressure must have been too much because frontman Levine walked backpedaled on the confirmed gig, stating:

"What the hell are you talking about? It's a rumor. I can neither confirm nor deny the truth of this rumor. It's definitely a rumor. And the rumor's a rumor that everyone seems to be discussing. It's the Super Bowl. It's a great event and there's gonna be a band performing … or an artist of some kind performing at halftime. And it's gonna be great, regardless of who it is."

It looks like it's going to be a tough ride for CBS given the fact that last year's Super Bowl's ratings were trash. It was the least-watched Super Bowl since 2009.

According to an NFL Insider, "Nobody wants to be associated with it."

Reader Question: Do you agree with the artists refusing to perform for the Super Bowl halftime show? Will it make an impact?

The Conversation (10)
Cassandra Cotton20 Dec, 2018

I agree wholeheartedly with the decision of black entertainers to not perform. My friends and family are not going to watch the Superbowl anyway!

Cassie20 Dec, 2018

Absolutely I agree!! We see police shoot people who argue with them and often don't understand, speak as if they do not believe black people in the scene, so they are as likely to shoot people who were trying to help because they get people of different race mixed up. The system focuses on the instantaneous decisions made by police, in a risky job. True enough. But to assume in every knee jerk encounter, that black people are more likely to be the criminals than the helpers, is to ignore so much goodwill that has come amazingly and repeatedly throughout history.

Professional training can surely encourage officers to get self to safe position and pause, listen to what's happening in a situation, and if they give orders, leave a few seconds for someone to comply - not everyone is as unafraid of police. Seek opportunities with respect, for someone to step out, slowly. I work in human services, and learned over time, to work with belligerent patients, pause, listen to what's said, don't go in with the approach that those in incidents are "enemies" who must be totally controlled as fast as possible. That sets up an oppositional attitude. Open ears and eyes, openness to help or new perspectives, doesn't take much time, it takes willingness to imagine blacks involved in possible situations, even those who are unemployed or people on the street - see them as possible helpers, as humans.

I understand that drugs intensify actions in many situations, and subterfuge is often part of drug life. I see that officers are courageous for stepping into situations so many fear and avoid.

Yet they need to be trained, not primarily on weapon use. but to pause before shooting, get self safe, and wait for communication from people in and around the incident. Try to understand for yourself, not wait for reinforcements with more guns. Whatever actions, give calm warning, not repeated shouting while running - let uncontrollable situations go, to see how to approach later with more safety. Speak with regret and respect, but give someone space to comply, change the system to provide immediate spaces where anyone who objects can come and speak their objections into a tape recording: Spread best practices training, so all learn to solve things in new ways - not just keep on stepping in - fueled by angry political voices on the right from those with little experience in peacebuilding - allowing those angry menper to be seen as experts, when they decide that stepping in as a controlling army is the only option - especially to people who have known so little trust from many in the world -

Much is being done, good, but publish that - don't let media thirst for sensationalism obscure the progress: track the progress and publish it on all stations, in a world with so many outlets, only loud voices get through.

It matters that someone objected in a peaceful and respectful way, taking a knee. How much more respectful can you get?

L Woods02 Jan, 2019

And I am a Black and Yellow died in the wool Steelers fan since the 70's! Was glued to the TV every weekend! Have watched maybe 3 games only since they tried to punish American Patriot Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee against police mistreating/killing Blacks. And worse, created a false narrative about his reasons. Anyone who performs - unless they use the platform to support Colin - will be sending the message that they are okay with mistreating Blacks and okay with silencing peaceful protest.

L Woods02 Jan, 2019

Will support every artist who boycotts the Bowl and Heaven help whoever signs on. Adam Levine dodged a bullet....especially after he took sides against Deandre Nico on The Voice.

Kim20 Dec, 2018

Absolutely. We (minorities) have the power to affect change. We must be persistent and diligent and change will eventually come.

Sheri20 Dec, 2018

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. #takeaknee #standforjustice

Dean Lynes20 Dec, 2018

I totally agree! I haven’t watched an NFL game since the boycott. And I’m a diehard football fan! Been getting my fill with college ball!

votetocorrect21 Dec, 2018

I support the artist!

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