6 Artists Who Declined to Headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show for Good Reason
The "Good Good" singer recently told Good Morning America that he wants to shine a spotlight on the Black artists who paved the way before him when he takes the stage on Sunday (Feb. 11).
"It's a major thing for me. I think about what our country has kind of represented for Black artists, you know, having to at some point go through kitchens to even be able to perform for an audience, but they had to leave back through that same door, fear for their lives as they went to the next state to do the same thing. So I’m coming through the front door with this one," Usher said.
Usher also noted he’s been thinking about "all of the R&B performers who I carry in this moment."
"I didn’t start where I am now, and I didn’t get there by myself. So, everybody that has been a part of it, I’m carrying them with me. All of my fans, my loved ones, the people who may have felt like they have been forgotten, they haven’t. I’m carrying you right with me when I walk on that stage that night," he explained.
Performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show can certainly reinvigorate an artist's career, but not every performer is so excited about the larger-than-life gig.
Whether they made the decision based on "principles" or for political or even career-related reasons, these musicians below reportedly turned down the Halftime Show headlining slot.
The NFL tried to lure the rapper to perform in 2019, but she declined in a show of solidarity toward Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback and civil rights activist who famously knelt during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S.
Jay-Z previously turned down the offer to headline the Halftime Show because the NFL wanted to peg him to specific co-performers.
The 54-year-old rapper told The New York Times that he was asked to perform his hit "Run This Town" with Kanye West and Rihanna, but he wasn't about it.
"I said, 'No, you get me.' That is not how you go about it, telling someone that they're going to do the Halftime Show contingent on who they bring. I said forget it. It was a principle thing," he shared.
In 2016, Adele made headlines when she announced during a concert that she had turned down an offer to perform at the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
"First of all, I'm not doing the Super Bowl. 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 said no," Adele said, according to Billboard.
However, the next day, the NFL released a statement stating they never "extended a formal offer to Adele or anyone else."
"Everybody that does it gets so persecuted," she said, noting she was furious about the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
"I'd probably take a knee and get carried out. They should only give it, because of the controversy, to African-American or Latina women for a while," she added.
"Oh, sure. I’ve been offered that many times. I couldn’t do it because of other things, or I just didn’t think I was big enough to do it — to do that big of a production. When you think about those shows, those are big, big productions. I’ve never done anything with that big of a production. I don’t know if I could have. I think at the time that’s what I was thinking," the country icon shared.
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