Rihanna’s Superbowl Halftime Show


After seven years of absence, she made a big return! On February 12th, Rihanna, the Barbadian singer, performed at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show and might as well have shut down the world. She performed pregnant with her second child, and it is now known to be the most-watched pregnancy announcement in world history. She was as phenomenal as her fans thought she was, who say it was one of the “best halftime shows ever.” But on the other hand, there seemed to be many complaints.

Boycott back in 2019

Many of Rihanna’s fans would know that back in 2019, she refused to perform in the 2019 halftime to stand in solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he had been blackballed by the NFL due to his protests of racial injustice. It wasn’t until now she explained in the British Vogue, “There’s a lot of mending to be done” she felt it was “powerful to break down those doors and have representation at such a high, high level.”  She then explains, “Two Super Bowls back-to-back, you know, representing the urban community, globally. It is powerful. It sends a really strong message.” Here she was referring to last year’s Super Bowl Halftime performers, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, & Kendrick Lamar, collaborating with Mary J. Blige. But mainly, being the strong icon we see her as, she took the liberty to perform at the Super Bowl for this year to challenge herself even during her postpartum life.

Pregnancy Reveal

It may be a little fun fact that Rihanna’s pregnancy was supposed to be hidden. But as soon as people noticed, the internet completely broke. Even some of her backup dancers didn’t know she was pregnant! 1 out of the 280 dancers, Lila Hayes said on ET, “I don’t think anybody knew she was pregnant. She hid it very well.” Unfortunately, that secret didn’t last long. Fans do tend to be fast, after all. Knowing Rihanna was floating 60 feet from the football field had fans incredibly concerned. The Halftime show director, Hamish Hamilton, explained his post thoughts, “That would be a brave thing to do in, like, a Broadway show, where you’ve got months and months to set it up…but this is a Super Bowl. I mean, you’ve got eight minutes to get all the stuff out. Check it, safety check it, make sure it’s cool, deploy it, and then fly her up,” with that, Rihanna turned out safe and proud of herself after the show. As she should be.

“Inappropriate Dance Movements”

A lot of negativity came out of the picture when hundreds of “Karens” on social media started to point out the gross, awkward, inappropriate movements Rihanna made on the show. According to FCC, there were about 103 complaints sent to them about the situation. One pointed out the crotch grab she made and that she was sniffing her fingers after that during “Rude Boy,” sarcastically tweeting, “Way to stay classy!” Others pointed out how she was rubbing her rear end before that, getting upset and ranting about how kids felt about seeing that on TV. And then there was the music choice; people said it was “too sexual” as well: “On top of all this 4 of the songs she chose to sing were about sex. This is supposed to be a family-friendly show…” and the list goes on. It was driving the internet mad. People were making a bigger deal out of this than they should’ve. We all know Rihanna is not truly known for being a “family-friendly” artist even when having one, soon-to-be, two children.

Meme Worthy

It didn’t even take 12 hours for everyone on the internet to make something of the show, but that is also exactly what happened. Some people couldn’t help but immediately start making memes and recreations of Rihanna’s performance. Some jokingly posted videos of how Rihanna’s fetus must’ve felt inside of her during the performance. With captions like, “Rihanna’s baby during the halftime show be like:” Then there were people from all over the world on TikTok started to recreate her dance by wearing red and white. Days turned into weeks after the performance, and people were still at it. It all came down to one TikTok where a group of seniors of the Arcadia Senior Living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, recreated the Halftime performance and got over 31 million views. And because of this, Rihanna couldn’t help but send them white roses as a surprise five days later. And rapper Jay-Z sent red roses on behalf of Roc Nation, AKA Rihanna’s record label.

Overall Response

We have no evidence of Rihanna fighting back against the negative comments she got for an “inappropriate show.” But more comments said that she was completely unbothered by the hate she got. She made her fans proud. She and her “marshmallow” dancers gave us their all for this show. But what do you think? Did Rihanna put on an awesome performance?