Rihanna’s Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show via NFL YouTube

Several viewers have blasted Rihanna for breaking her boycott of the Super Bowl in order to perform at the halftime show on Sunday. They say that the 34-year-old singer went back on her principles and statements that she made in the past.

Rihanna’s Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show via NFL YouTube

In 2018, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games during the National Anthem in protest over police brutality. At the time, Rihanna said she wouldn’t perform in the halftime show in support of the controversial player. She joined several other celebrities who stood in solidarity on the subject.

Rihanna said in an interview with Vogue in 2019 that she “couldn’t be a sellout,” and there were things within the NFL “that I do not agree with at all”.

And according to People Magazine, the singer’s publicist confirmed that she was offered a chance to perform at Super Bowl 2019 alongside Maroon 5 but ultimately declined the offer.

Colin Kaepernick kneels during National Anthem via ABC News YouTube

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However, that apparently went by the wayside in 2023, as the nine-time Grammy Award Winner was the star performer of this year’s halftime.

Rihanna delivered the goods for her faithful fans – leaning on her classic hits like “Umbrella,” “Diamonds,” and others.

Rihanna’s Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show via NFL YouTube

However, those same followers were quick to point out her unbroken promise regarding the Kaepernick situation. Their criticisms ranged from incredibly mild to labeling her outwardly as a hypocrite.

For the popular star, it was unusual for her to have her feet put to the fire in that manner.

Rihanna’s Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show via NFL YouTube

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Rihanna discussed her appearance prior to the Super Bowl but avoided anything too political. The singer didn’t hold a formal press conference, but she did tell half-time show sponsors Apple Music that the performance would reflect her Caribbean roots.

“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show: representation. Representing for immigrants. Representing for black women everywhere. That’s key for people to see the possibilities,” she said. “It’s a long way from home, right? It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on. I could have never guessed that I would have made it here, so it’s a celebration of that. I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl stage.”

Beyond the accusations of flip-flopping, Rihanna also came under criticism for her overall musical performance, as well.

“EPIC FAIL,” former President Donald Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. “Rihanna gave, without question, the single worst Halftime Show in Super Bowl history. This after insulting far more than half of our Nation, which is already in serious DECLINE, with her foul and insulting language. Also, so much for her ‘stylist!’”

Donald Trump Truth Social

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While it’s not shocking that Trump might fire a few shots Rihanna’s way, 45 wasn’t the only one who thought the R&B star’s performance was lacking. Many of those watching were quick to point out that it appeared she had a backing track and was lip-synching. Others complained that she showed little energy.

“Amazing how Rihanna is able to keep singing even when she puts the mic aside and doesn’t move her lips at all,” bemused one sarcastic viewer.

Some went so far as to say it was the bottom of the barrel, in terms of the history of the halftime show.

Another fan posted, “Rihanna not even having the mic near her mouth while the lyrics are playing. Why bother doing the halftime show if you’re not even gonna try and lip sync, bizarre.”

Rihanna’s showing wasn’t the only musical performance that drew the ire of some Super Bowl LVII viewers. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph’s rendition of the unofficial ‘Black National Anthem’ has come under fire for allegedly politicizing a sporting event.

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