The 2023 Super Bowl halftime show is set to be an unforgettable experience, as hit-making singer Rihanna is poised to end her hiatus for her headlining performance at Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Arena. Just as quickly as she was announced as the headliner, speculation began about who she would bring out as a special guest, if any.
Rihanna is the Super Bowl 2023 halftime show headliner
For months in 2022, many believed that Taylor Swift would be recruited as the performer for the Super Bowl. But after she reportedly turned it down to focus on re-recording her old albums, Rihanna became one of the names floated around as a possible contender.
Ultimately, Rihanna dropped the news on Instagram with nothing more than a simple photo of her hand holding a football.
Jay-Z, who signed Rihanna to his label Roc Nation back in the day, produces the Super Bowl halftime show through his Roc Nation agency. The rapper couldn’t be more thrilled about her choice as the performer. “Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” he said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”
Rihanna could bring out guests like Drake or Jay-Z
According to TMZ, Rihanna could be joined by one or several of her past collaborators on stage at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show. Sources close to the matter claimed that Rihanna has a list of more than 50 people — consisting of stars like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, Calvin Harris, and Paul McCartney — to choose from.
TMZ reported that Rihanna hasn’t decided who will join her if anyone will. Given that Super Bowl halftime shows often feature special guests, it’s possible she chooses one or more people to perform with her.
She was previously against performing at the Super Bowl
Fans are excited to see Rihanna perform for the first time in five years and possibly release new music before or after her performance. Her last new music was her 2016 album Anti.
Rihanna being a Super Bowl halftime show performer should come as a surprise to those who follow her. After the NFL effectively blackballed former quarterback Colin Kaepernick following his kneeling protests during the national anthem in 2016, Rihanna was one of many who felt that the NFL as was deeply flawed as an institution.
Cardi B spoke out in defense of Kaepernick many times after the fallout. And in a 2019 interview with Vogue, she revealed that the NFL had actually approached her to perform at the halftime show, but she turned it down because of her principles.
“I couldn’t dare do that. For what?” she said honestly. “Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”