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.
RELATED: Super Bowl LVII: Philadelphia Eagles’ James Bradberry Admits To Holding: “It Was Holding”
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.
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.
RELATED: 5 Super Bowl LVII Commercials That Made Us Take Notice
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!’”
RELATED: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Implies Christian Super Bowl Ads Are Attempt “To Make Fascism Look Benign”
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.