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.