Cardi B Turned Down Super Bowl Halftime Show to Support 'A Man Who Sacrificed His Job for Us'
The award-winning rapper took part in Super Bowl-related events, but explains why she's not performing at the main event and why it wasn't an easy decision.
Cardi B is nominated for five Grammys and competing for both record and album of the year. If she accepted the offer to perform during Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, her audience would have been more than 100 million Americans. But she declined the NFL's offer. She stands in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, "a man who sacrificed his job for us."
The native New Yorker rapper recently made headlines for her viral video criticizing President Trump for the partial government shutdown, which has resulted in an offer from Democrats in Iowa to speak at an upcoming Democratic reception.
It was reported in December that Cardi B declined to perform at the Super Bowl. But she has recently explained that it was a difficult decision, in part due to her husband, rapper Offset.
"My husband, he loves football," she told the Associated Press on Friday. "His kids play football. It's really hard for him. He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can't go to the Super Bowl, because he's got to stand for something."
"You have to sacrifice that," she added. "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 2016, Kaepernick became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, since then he has been shunned by the organization. He is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL.
Kaepernick claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.
During the 2017 MTV VMAs, Cardi B gave the former football star a shout-out: "Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we're gonna be standing for you, baby. That's right, I said it."
She continues to support Kaepernick and urges the NFL to make changes.
"Here's what I feel about the NFL," she told Sports Illustrated on Saturday. "You've been seeing what's going on in this country. I feel like you guys should sympathize. You guys should understand why [Colin Kaepernick] took a [knee]. They should make a change."
'If the NFL could benefit off from us, then I'm going to benefit off y'all'
Though Cardi B will not be taking the main stage, she performed Saturday night in Super Bowl-related events in Atlanta. She has pushed back against criticism directed at her and other artists.
"I hear people saying like 'Oh, y'all are saying all this stuff about the Super Bowl, but you're doing all these parties,'" she told the Associated Press.
"And it's like, well, if the NFL could benefit off from us, then I'm going to benefit off y'all. Y'all make the most money off our people. Why am I not going to take advantage of y'all and take money from y'all too? Because of y'all, we are getting these parties. OK, thank you."
When asked by Entertainment Tonight if she would appear during the halftime show when Maroon 5 performs "Girls Like You," she said, "There are certain things [of which] I can't push my limits. My soul wouldn't feel right."
She expressed her admiration for Maroon 5's song and said they would have performances together in the future. Big Boi of Outkast and rapper Travis Scott will join Maroon 5 at halftime during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem.
Rihanna also turned down a coveted offer by the NFL to headline the halftime show because she stands in solidarity with Kaepernick. Usher, Pink, Mary J. Blige and Andre 3000 from Outkast reportedly turned down offers to perform as well.
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Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Call Kaepernick 'Controversial' and Remove His Name From Black History Resolution
"Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution," tweeted Rep. Shelia Stubbs.
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so "controversial" to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature's Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.
Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick "for obvious reasons," Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, "Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure."
Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "sons of bi***es."
Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.
Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus' resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.
For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor — Black History Month.
One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident "a textbook example of white privilege."
Wisconsin's population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.
Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.
Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:
Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution. We still stand with @Kaepernick7 https://t.co/Yt4eczrO2F
— Shelia Stubbs (@RepStubbs) February 12, 2019
State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.
.@SenTaylor tells @CBS58 she will be request the Senate to amend the #BlackHistoryMonth resolution to include the name of Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7). The Assembly passed the resolution yesterday that took out any mention of Kaepernick. The Senate takes it up this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/q7lC8OS3RC
— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) February 13, 2019
During the Super Bowl, #ImWithKap was trending as many decided to point out the NFL's disregard for Colin Kaepernick.
Angela Davis, Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Common, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and more used social media to stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick on Super Bowl Sunday.
Former Obama cabinet secretary, Chris Lu, tweeted the sentiment right before the game started:
#ImWithKap is trending in USA. Because some things are more important than a game. pic.twitter.com/0tOsGdOM1z
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) February 3, 2019
ImWithKap Jerseys were sported in many of the tweets as a continued sign of support.
Cardi B said she wasn't performing with Maroon 5, because someone "lost his job fighting for us."
Many boycotted the NFL and all of its Super Bowl coverage and events, including Ava DuVernay, who tweeted:
I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL's racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players. To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It's not worth it. #ImWithKap pic.twitter.com/fNEeke0crs
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 3, 2019
“I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I'm changing the things I cannot accept" Dr. Angela Davis. #ImWithKap https://t.co/FobilXc7J0
— COMMON (@common) February 3, 2019
LeBron and KD both showing love to @Kaepernick7 on Super Bowl weekend pic.twitter.com/IuU7O8oOBY
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 2, 2019
Kaepernick thanked all for the support:
I can't explain how much it means to have the support of the Icon Angela Davis! She has laid the foundation for myself and many others to fight against anti-blackness, and has never wavered! We love and appreciate you! pic.twitter.com/do4AIRTHJR
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) February 2, 2019
Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell dodged questions about Kaepernick's status at a pre-game press conference. Kapernick has filed a grievance for collusion of the owners and executives to keep him off any team.
Maroon 5, who replaced all the artists who turned down the biggest performance stage in protest, did a show that weakly acknowledged the tension with a "One Love" light display by drones.
The lead singer, Adam Levine, defended the show, which featured rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi, and thanked critics "for always pushing us to do better." He included a list of words that he wrote down when asked to do the performance that included the word "kneel" near the bottom.
Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known as 21 Savage, has been placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court.
James was Spencer's sponsor, ensuring she would receive pay equal to her male counterparts for a biopic about Madam C.J. Walker.
In business settings, a sponsor will actively advocate for you by using their influence and networks to help you earn raises and promotions and garner success. According to Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was her sponsor in pay negotiations with Netflix.
The NFL says the musical acts "will let their show do the talking."
The National Football League announced that Maroon 5, the band led by singer Adam Levine, scheduled to entertain at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show on Sunday, will not have the traditional pre-show press conference.
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"I still believe that justice will be served," said Smollett as police have new leads in the case.
UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2019
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has released his first public comments about the incident:
"Let me start by saying that I'm O.K.," Smollett said in a statement released on Friday. "My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly, I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."
"I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."
The FBI and Chicago PD are investigating have new leads.
Chicago police said an envelope with white powder and a threatening letter with magazine cut outs pasted on paper was received at Cinespace Studios, where "Empire" is filmed, on Jan. 22.
HAZMAT responded, but the white substance turned out to be aspirin.
Police have released photos of two individuals wanted for questioning.
Video of Smollett walking into a hotel after the attack with a noose around his neck, along with the noose and his sweater have also been acquired to help try to identify more clues to find the attackers.
Smollett said he was on the phone with his manager when the attack happened.
His family's statement said this was a "violent and unprovoked attack," and "a racial and homophobic hate crime."
A witness, who requested anonymity, described a "creepy" white man outside the building with a clothesline hanging from his pants, staring at another man near another entrance about 300 hundred feet away.
She told TMZ, "He looked out of place." He had scruff on his face, wearing a blue winter beanie, a blue zip-up sweatshirt with a hood and blue jeans that were too short. He had "thick, grey hunting socks" with camel-colored dress shoes.
She talked to detectives when she found out there was an attack.
"Empire" star, Jussie Smollett, was brutally attacked and hospitalized early Tuesday morning.