Legendary. Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance is out of this world. The “Rude Boy” singer will be performing at half-time show Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023, in Arizona’s State Farm Stadium.
Rihanna was announced as the iconic half-time show performer on September 22, 2022. “Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Roc Nation founder Jay-Z said in a statement.“A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the … Halftime Show stage,” added Seth Dudowsky, NFL Head of Music. “Rihanna is a once-in-a-generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career.”
Read below to see what we could expect from Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime show.
What are Rihanna’s Super Bowl 2023 plans?
What are Rihanna’s Super Bowl 2023 plans? In an interview with AP, the Fenty Beauty founder revealed that the show is going to be spectacular. “If I’m going to leave my baby, I’m going to leave my baby for something special,” she said.
On if she’s releasing new music after a new baby and the Super Bowl news, she was quick to dispel those rumors too. “That’s not true. Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that fans?” she said, laughing. “The second that I announced this, I said, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to think my album is coming. I need to get to work.” She released her first music in over 5 years with “Lift Me Up” as the lead single from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. The single is the first solo single from the “Umbrella” singer since her album ANTI was released in 2016.
She reiterated her excitement for the Super Bowl Half-Time Show to Entertainment Tonight about how the event was a “now or never” opportunity. “Nothing would have gotten me out of the house if it wasn’t a challenge like that,” she said. “You could get real comfortable being at home as a mom, [so this is] challenging myself to do something that I’ve never done before in my career. I have to live up to that challenge.”
When asked about what her plans for the show were, Rihanna said that she wanted to “incorporate a lot of culture” into the show. “I want to incorporate different aspects of entertainment and things that I just enjoy and bring it to the stage,” she said. “I want to celebrate the music that I’ve made.”
In a press conference for the Super Bowl on February 8, 2023, Rihanna was asked by Apple Music’s Nadeska Alexis about how she made the decision to perform at the legendary Half-Time stage. “I was like, ‘You sure? I’m three months postpartum. Should I be making major decisions like this right now? I might regret this.” But Rihanna said that becoming a mom gave her the energy to take on the big event, especially with her 9-month-old son watching. “When you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world — you can do anything. And the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, so as scary as that was … there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all,” she said. “It’s important for my son to see that.”
As for the setlist, it’s still a big mystery until the day of the performance. “The setlist was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest part — deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. That’s what the show’s going to be — it’s going to be a celebration of my catalog in the best way,” she said. “I think we did a pretty good job at narrowing it down.” She also added that the performance was for a wide spectrum of audiences. She said that she was performing “for immigrants, represent for my country, Barbados, [and] represent for Black women everywhere. That’s key for people to see the possibilities. And I’m honored to be here. I’m honored to be doing this this year.”
She is also nervous as she hasn’t “been onstage in seven years.” She said she’s been working hard during rehearsals, so much so she “totally forgot that my birthday is coming up” on February 2020 and she “totally forgot about Valentine’s Day.” She continued, “I am just Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl,” she said. “I have yet to sleep. We were working at the venue all last night … [and] somehow I’m here at a press conference right now.”
Rihanna released a trailer for her Super Bowl performance on January 13, 2022. In the stunning trailer, the “Rude Boy” singer appears in a silhouette in front of a white background while voiceovers about the anticipation of her releasing new music. “Dude, Rihanna, we’ve waited for you,” said one voice. Another added, “It’s been six years since the nine-time Grammy-winner dropped an album.”
According to an insider to HypeBeast, Rihanna will reportedly be making a documentary for Apple TV following the days up to the actual performance. “She will be recorded during rehearsals and meetings in the lead-up to the big night and give an insight into what her life is really like now that she is returning to pop as a mum,” an insider alleged. “Rihanna is a massive force to be reckoned with when it comes to music and so Apple has paid millions.”
“There is a massive appetite for everything to do with Rihanna, especially as this will be her major return to the stage for the first time in years,” the source added. “The Super Bowl is one of, if not the, biggest stages in the world, so her show was always going to be huge. Add on top of that it’s a live comeback and the pressure is immense. She is keen for the world to remember why she is one of the greatest performers of all time.”
Rihanna’s long time makeup artist Priscilla Ono said that Rihanna’s makeup look will be one of the best in the business. “It’s going to be an iconic look, that’s all I have to say,” she told Page Six. “I want a makeup look that you can look back at, at any point in time, and be like, ‘That look? I want that on me now.’ I just want it to look super iconic. Nothing trendy, like no micro trends. Nothing that’s like, ‘OK, that was done in the 2010’s, 2020s.’ I want it to be super timeless.”
She also had a hand in making the aesthetic for the Halftime show by spending weeks creating mood board and face charts. “Seeing everything come to life is so cool. I’ve actually been going to rehearsals and watching everything, so everything kind of inspires me,” she said. “I think when you take your time and really care about something, it’s going to come out really good. This is kind of a proud mom moment for me. I’m really proud of Rihanna and I can’t wait for her to go out there and show everybody what she got!”
Rihanna’s coveted brand Savage X Fenty is also selling special Rihanna game day wear on their website. Fenty fans can wear cozy sweats and sweatshirts at the comfort of their own home. There’s even one t-shirt that says, “Rihanna Concert Interrupted By A Football Game Or Whatever.”
Who is attending Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance?
An insider told Hollywood Life that the Savage X Fenty founder was going to bring her son along for the show, but not on stage for him. “She knows it’s going to be loud so she’s thinking that either she’ll have him wear noise-canceling headphones for babies or her family, many of which are also coming, will enjoy the show from a skybox or some type of club seating,” the insider explained.
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 radio, A$AP Rocky was elated about his partner’s return to music. “I’m so glad that my lady’s back making music again and whatnot, and getting back out there,” Rocky told Apple Music. “It’s just incredible.” He continued, “The Super Bowl is huge, and her being the creative she is, she going to bring it, man. I’m excited. I’m more excited than everybody else, honestly.” According to VegasInsider’s polls, Britney Spears is the most searched guest appearance with Rihanna in the Super Bowl, followed by Eminem and A$AP Rocky.
Rihanna and her boyfriend A$AP Rocky announced her pregnancy in a photoshoot in Harlem, New York City in early 2022. In a surprise picture, Rihanna wore a long puffer jacket and exposed her very pregnant belly. In an interview with Vogue, she expressed how much A$AP supported her during the pregnancy. “What I love the most about us? Transparency with everything: how we’re feeling, what our goals are, what our fears and insecurities are. The vulnerability to be able to say what you feel about each other.”
After keeping her baby away from the public eye for seven months, the “Love on the Brain” singer posted a gentle video of the baby for her first TikTok with the caption, “Hacked.” “You trying to get mommy’s phone? Oh wow…oh wow,” she asked him after exclaiming “Ooh!”
She was also able to keep her pregnancy private from her own friends before she announced it to the world. “They’re around me, they know my habits. They’re like, ‘You don’t want something to drink? You’re not smoking?’” Rihanna told E! News. “And I’m eating all the things I’m not used to eating. They know I hate sweets and I’m all of a sudden asking for cookies and donuts. But finally, I just had to let it all out, and they were all shocked, of course, as the world was shocked as well.”
Among those who are confirmed to attend the Super Bowl is none other than the superstar singer Adele. At one of her shows at her Las Vegas residencies the week before the Super Bowl, Adele revealed that she was going to see the “Umbrella” singer at the football game—and only going just for her. “I’m going just for Rihanna, I don’t give a freaking flying f*ck,” she told one of her audience members.
In 2019, Rihanna made headlines by boycotting the Super Bowl after the NFL fired Colin Kaepernick after he began kneeling during the National Anthem before games. When asked if she would decline the opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl she responded, “Absolutely. I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.” During that time, Jay-Z and RocNation teamed up with the NFL for a “diversity” initiative when Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were scheduled to perform at the 2020 Super Bowl.
When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl
For more about the Super Bowl, football fans can check out When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl
by Harvey Frommer. The best-selling book delves into the history of the first Super Bowl, which was originally known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game. (The term “Super Bowl” was coined only in its third year.) The debut game, between the winning Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, was played in front of only 61,946 people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—an audience well below the stadium’s capacity. Harvey Frommer, a sports historian and reporter, puts the tale of that momentous game together using oral history, gathered by hundreds of interviews with players, coaches, media and spectators alike.
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