Rihanna is going to be headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show next year in Arizona! The superstar, 34, confirmed reports that were making rounds earlier in the day with a simple — but powerful — post via her Instagram on Sunday, Sept. 25. Her tattooed hand was seen holding up an NFL-branded football against a crisp white background in the image, alongside a caption with just a period.
No further explanation was necessary as the Rihanna Navy (the nickname for her fans) and everyone else around the world immediately knew what the post meant, confirmed shortly thereafter by producers Roc Nation and the NFL Twitter accounts. “Let’s GO @Rihanna @NFL #SBLVII @AppleMusic @NFLonFOx,” a tweet from Roc Nation — shared by the NFL — read. Later in the day, the NFL also updated their Twitter bio to read “national fenty league” tagging both Rihanna and Apple Music.
“Rihanna is an incredible recording artist who is a favorite for many millions of Apple Music customers around the world,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with Rihanna, Roc Nation, and the NFL to bring music and sports fans a momentous show — what an incredible artist for the inaugural Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.” With all that hype, here’s what you need to know about Rihanna’s Halftime Show
When Is The Super Bowl
Super Bowl LVII is set to take place on Feb. 1223, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona — marking the fourth time Phoenix has hosted the legendary sporting event. The halftime show is also produced by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, the label Rihanna has been signed to since her debut way back in 2005 with “Pon De Replay.” Jay-Z has held the producer role with the NFL since 2019, overseeing Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s joint performance in 2020, The Weeknd in 2012, as well as Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar’s in 2022. Notably, this year marks the first since 2013 that Pepsi is not the presenting sponsor — with Apple Music taking their place.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Jay-Z said in a statement issued on SepSept. 25ter the social media announcement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment,” the New York native also said, referencing RiRi’s massive empire that includes Fenty Beauty, her Savage X Fenty lingerie line, and more.
Was Taylor Swift Supposed To Perform?
There was a rush of Halftime rumors days before Rihanna’s announcement (which likely prompted her to share this news.) Variety reported that Taylor Swift had signed on to play the sports spectacular, which sent the Swifties into a tizzy. For some, it made sense that Taylor would play the show. She is dropping her tenth studio album, Midnights, on OctOct. 21022, and the Super Bowl is often the kickoff for a major world tour. However, that was not the case. PEOPLE reported that Taylor was not playing the show, and sources told HollywoodLife that the report was correct. TMZ later reported that Taylor was offered the slot, but she declined so she could continue her Taylor’s Version series – the re-recording of her first six albums so that she could own masters of the songs following a public clash with Scooter Braun.
When Was The Last Time Rihanna Performed Live
When Rihanna takes the field of State Farm Stadium, it will be her first public performance in more than four years. Rihanna last performed on the world stage at the 2018 Grammy Awards, joining DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller for an amazing rendition of “Wild Thoughts.” Since then, Ri has been busy becoming a global fashion icon, welcoming a baby with A$AP Rocky, and occasionally doing something that gives fans hope that a ninth studio album is on its way. The Super Bowl performance might be part of that album’s rollout.
Rihanna playing the big game is surprising since she turned down the opportunity in 2019 as she stood in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. “I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people,” she said to Vogue magazine months later. “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.” Maroon 5 headlined that same year to lukewarm reviews.
Taylor Swift super fans will also recall a musical connection between the Pennsylvania native and Rihanna: Taylor wrote the 2016 track “This Is What You Came For” with her then-boyfriend Calvin Harris under the Swedish-sounding pseudonym Nils Sjöberg. The DJ produced the beat while Rihanna provided the lead vocals, with Taylor also credited on the song for back-up. Only time will tell, but a surprise appearance by Taylor to perform the song alongside Rihanna would be epic.