Rihanna went against all the patterns of a typical Super Bowl halftime show. She turned the show’s biggest stage into something of her own. And Rihanna did it simultaneously when she revealed her pregnancy with her second child.
The performance was more of an avant-garde piece than a concert. The Barbadian superstar, clad in a bright red full suit, ran through 12 hits in 13 minutes, covered by dozens of white-clad androgynous dancers who matched her every move on and above the huge stage at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
If anyone missed it, it was all about Rihanna. There were no special guests. There were no interruptions. No changes of pace. From her start on a platform hovering above the stage to her powerful performance of her inspirational song ‘Diamonds,’ Rihanna kept everyone’s attention singing one after one hit songs, from ‘Work’ to ‘Umbrella.’
It was her vision, polished and playful and completely confident. Rihanna didn’t include ballads to show the power of her voice because she didn’t need to show it to anyone. And she, too, didn’t need to say anything more than ‘thank you, Arizona’ to say herself.
It was all an uncommon extension of an unconventional decision to show up at this particular time.
While most artists use their Super Bowl halftime reaches to drop new albums, Rihanna has insisted that the production that will follow her 2016 album ‘Anti’ is still ongoing.
She didn’t even perform the ‘Lift Me Up’ song, her contribution to the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ soundtrack, which is now nominated for an Oscar.
Before Rihanna revealed her second pregnancy, there were rumors of a possible tour. However, that seems improbable now, with a new child on the way and her firstborn, who turns nine months old.
Rihanna’s fashion label Savage X Fenty released a T-shirt that reads ‘RIHANNA CONCERT INTERRUPTED BY A FOOTBALL GAME, WEIRD BUT WHATEVER.’ Before the match started, the jersey totally sold out.
Performing on the huge show stage with an intended audience of more than 100 million viewers in the United States alone is good for business. According to listings, she knows that the billionaire is the youngest to make her fortune and overcome the barrier of 1,000 million dollars.
But actually, Rihanna isn’t selling anything.
The 34-year-old star accepted the concert because of the challenge and because she had something to say.
Previously, she declined to appear at halftime in 2019 in solidarity with the quarterback for the protest of Colin Kaepernick, over racial inequality. But a lot has revised since then, including that Jay-Z’s friend and mentor’s company, Roc Nation, joined with the NFL to do halftime.
And Rihanna’s performance made a great point about equality because her huge body of dancers was completely covered, including their faces, so they erased the differences between race and gender. They will only judge them on their dancing and ability to entertain.