The Super Bowl halftime show is normally a great opportunity for stars to have millions of eyes on them. The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, and the stars usually shine very brightly wedged in between two halves of the big game.
But some stars have refused to perform during the halftime show. Some gave no reason, but others were very vocal about the reason for their refusal. The following is a list of performers who refused to play the most prestigious sports entertainment block of the year, and why.
Some stars are just too big for the Super Bowl. Kanye West is a rap guru, music producer, and Kardashian accessory. He also put in a bid for the U.S. presidency, promising ‘a doper America.’
He didn’t win the presidential race, probably because half of America didn’t know what a doper America meant, and probably didn’t want dopers running the country.
But the Super Bowl wasn’t worried about trivial matters or Kanye’s controversial political statements. So, they made him an offer which he could refuse. And he did.
Unfortunately, Kanye West demanded to much money for the Super Bowl to book him for the halftime show.
Another rap god too big for his britches was Eminem, the perpetually angry white rapper/actor. Under the guise of his alter ego, Slim Shady, he raps about how proud he is of his daughter and how much he hates his mother.
And during the process of his rap therapy, he made so much money that he became a household name. Especially when we eat M&Ms.
But it worked out in the end, because that Super Bowl halftime show booked Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the latter group bouncing around shirtless in front of millions.
The Super Bowl halftime show can have some wild moments. Some are so wild that they ruin careers (2 words: Janet Jackson).
The singer Pink has previously appeared on the Super Bowl gridiron to render the National Anthem. This mini performance at the beginning of the Big Game is less about stage time and more about how long a singer can drag out the word ‘brave’ at the end of the song.
Pink performed the national anthem in the 2017 Super Bowl, and recently addressed rumors that she was offered the coveted Super Bowl halftime show spot.
But the singer said she had to refuse the halftime offer due to political reasons. Also, she was concerned how stars are often persecuted for playing the show (Janet Jackson?).
The top of the pops star Rihanna refused the Super Bowl halftime show for political reasons.
After a spate of police brutality in the U.S. which left several black men dead, the seeds of the BLM movement were sown.
In protest of police brutality against people of color, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem. Instead, he kneeled with one knee on the ground in protest.
The non-vocal political protest of ‘taking the knee’ spread like wildfire in the sports world due to ongoing police brutality.
But Kaepernick was pushed out of the NFL for political reasons, and he has not played since 2016.
Rihanna’s representatives said the artist would not play due to the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick.
Another performer who has refused the Super Bowl halftime show is Cardi B. In fact, she was very vocal about her support of Kaepernick during a speech at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.
“Colin Kaepernick: As long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you, baby,” the artist proclaimed.
Cardi B later told TMZ paparazzi that she would never play at the Super Bowl until Kaepernick is rehired.
And when the NFL contacted her regarding a 2019 halftime show performance, she stuck to her guns and refused.
Political protests can lead to a movement, prompting many artists to boycott shows or brands which do not acknowledge injustice. Jay-Z was quick to pick up the quill to pen his opinion on the Super Bowl.
You really know about a particular injustice when it becomes a song. Or, in the case of artist Jay-Z, a rap song:
“I said no to the Super Bowl
You need me, I don’t need you
Every night we in the endzone
Tell the NFL we in stadiums too”
It’s safe to assume that Jay-Z will NOT be attending the Super Bowl halftime show. And the mic dropped with a loud pop. Point well made, Mr. Z.
UK pop crooner Adele would sooner see the sky fall than play at the Super Bowl. But according to the songstress, the reason for her refusal was not political, but musical.
During one of her U.S. performances, Adele addressed the crowd to quash rumors of her 2017 Super Bowl halftime show appearance.
She said she refused to appear at the Super Bowl because the show was “not about music.” That and that she “can’t dance.”
“First of all, I’m not doing the Super Bowl,” she told the audience. “I mean, come on, that show is not about music. And I don’t really — I can’t dance or anything like that. They were very kind, they did ask me, but I did say no.”
But apparently, the feeling was mutual. The NFL released a statement claiming that Adele had never been offered the halftime show performance slot.
The hip hop duo known as Outkast also balked at the chance to perform in the halftime show. But their reasons were far from political – or about the Benjamins.
Way back in 2004 before the whole Kaepernick caper, Outkast rejected the Super Bowl slot. Instead, Janet Jackson took to the stage that year and had her career ruined when her bits bounced out in front of millions.
But Outkast apparently refused to do the show because their time on stage was too short for them.
The Show Goes On
Fortunately for the NFL, there is no shortage of talent, half-talents, and no-talent pop artists out there to fill a stadium. Regardless of the injustice, the knees, and the nays, that Super Bowl halftime stage will be filled.
But the NFL must deal with the consequences of its decisions, whether they decide to address the political elephant in the stadium or not. Truth be told, more people watch the Super Bowl for the advertisements anyway.
And then there are the two teams literally butting heads at the line of scrimmage before the screaming millions. And naturally, betting on the winner goes on feverishly in the background, whether it’s done via online sports betting or in an office betting pool.
One question remains: Bucs or Chiefs?