Rihanna will perform at the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12 as the N.F.L. enters the first year of a new deal with Apple Music as primary sponsor of the halftime show, replacing Pepsi.
The announcement is an about-face for the singer, who was among the artists who rebuffed invitations to perform on football’s biggest stage in support of Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who has been unable to find a new team since he became a free agent in March 2017. Kaepernick accused the league of blackballing him because of his kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality toward Black people.
Facing player protests and an impending loss of cachet for the show, the N.F.L. in 2019 signed on Jay-Z and Roc Nation, the rapper’s entertainment and sports company, as “live music entertainment strategist,” to consult on the Super Bowl halftime show and contribute to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn. A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment,” Jay-Z said in a statement.