The Biggest Stars Who Turned Down Performing at Super Bowl 53

In previous years, performing at the Super Bowl was one of the highest honors a star could achieve. The publicity leading up to the event, along with the millions of eyes that would be watching them on the night of, used to be an offer that was too good to refuse.

But fast forward to the current political and racial climate in America and performing at the Super Bowl has become more of a controversy than a great achievement.

This is largely due to Colin Kaepernick’s recent protest. In 2016, Kaepernick, then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality in the United States. Because of his protest, Kaepernick hasn’t been given the opportunity to play in the NFL since March of 2017.

He has since filed a grievance against both the NFL and it’s owners, but has not been offered a contract from any teams.

Though the NFL itself hasn’t seemed moved by Kaepernick’s plight, celebrities certainly have, which has caused a number of them to turn down performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.


When searching for a halftime headliner for the 2019 Super Bowl, Rihanna was the top pick according to reports from Entertainment Tonight.

“Rihanna was the front-runner for next year’s Super Bowl halftime show,” a source told ET. “CBS and the NFL reached out to Rihanna first, who after thinking about the offer, decided to pass due to the NFL and the situation regarding players kneeling.”

Cardi B

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Cardi B has sided with Colin Kaepernick almost since the very start of his protest. She went public with her support at the 2017 MTV VMAs.

“Colin Kaepernick: As long as you kneel with us, we gonna stand for you, baby,” she said on stage. She has also said that she would not perform at the Super Bowl until Kaepernick was rehired.

Later, rumors circulated that the real reason that Cardi wasn’t performing at the Super Bowl was that she wanted a million dollars for the performance. Her rep was quick to deny those rumors.

“The rumor circulating that she wants a million dollars and she wants her own set is false,” her rep told Page Six. “There was never a firm offer to begin with for a performance. There [were] talks about it, but she was not particularly interested in participating because of how she feels about Colin Kaepernick and the whole movement.”


Rapper Jay-Z also refused to perform at the big game.

In his new song Apesh*t, he made it abundantly clear that he didn’t need the Super Bowl.

“I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don’t need you,” he raps in the song. “Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.

Amy Schumer

Though Amy Schumer was not invited to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show, she announced that she wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year.

“I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year,” she wrote on Instagram. “I know it must sound like a privilege-ass sacrifice, but it’s all I got. Hitting the NFL with the advertisers is the only way to really hurt them.”

Read more:  5 Things You Never Knew about the SuperBowl Halftime Show

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