Bruno Mars, wants to see some long-overdue Hip-Hop representation at Super Bowl LIII’s halftime show next year! With the current Atlanta scene absolutely booming, Bruno specifically wants to see a tribute to some groups and solo artists out of ATL that paved the way. The NFL has historically never featured a Hip-Hop headliner for their Super Bowl halftime show, despite their consistent featuring of Hip-Hop music both at games and during promos and advertisements.
The closest nod we’ve gotten to the culture in recent years at Super Bowl halftime shows is Beyoncé and Bruno Mars’ performances at Super Bowl L. However, Beyoncé’s “Formation” performance at Super stirred controversy, as many ultra-conservative viewers did not appreciate her tribute to The Black Panther Party and her dancers’ raised fists in symbolism of Black Power, attacking the performance as “anti-cop” and “a race-baiting stunt.” Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the last two years’ selections have catered to conservative, mostly white, viewers. To add to the controversy that has ensued since Super Bowl L, the NFL has been under fire recently by the same camp of conservative viewers for its inability to stop players from “taking a knee” during the National Anthem. Many believe this could also be a major factor in the whitewashed nature of recent halftime performances, as the NFL is scrambling to improve ratings amidst the growing movement.
In addition to the representation issue, Bruno argues that a Hip-Hop halftime show would be a “party,” providing fans a fun and musically pleasing spectacle. Show quality is also at stake, considering Timberlake’s performance last week has been widely ridiculed as a flop. Bruno may be hinting that changing up the performer demographic might be the right way to go in the interest of performance quality. While we are certainly excited about the prospect of a Hip-Hop Super Bowl halftime show, we also have to consider that many big names might abstain from supporting the NFL’s ratings with a large-scale, high-publicity, historic performance. For example, Cardi B recently said, on record, that she would not perform in the Super Bowl halftime show until Kapernick is re-hired.
With all this to consider, who knows what next year’s halftime performance will look like? Public reception of Hip-Hop is definitely on the up, but until the NFL starts showing their Black players and viewers that they matter, we might not see that showcased at next year’s Super Bowl.
– Courtney Quigley