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Boycotting no more, Rihanna ready for Super Bowl stage

Four  years after saying she had refused to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in protest over race issues, Rihanna says she will use her performance during Sunday’s NFL title game to represent immigrants and black women.

The nine-times Grammy award-winning singer will perform during the interval of Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles in what is usually the most-watched broadcast of the year on US television.

The Barbados-born singer, who gave birth to a son in May, has not performed a live show in seven years.

“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. As scary as that was because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all.” she told a media presentation on Thursday.

“It’s important for me to do this, this year. It’s important for representation. It’s important for my son to see this,” she added.

In 2019 she said she had rejected the opportunity from the NFL in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who had been protesting against racism and police violence by taking the knee.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL team owners, later withdrawn after a settlement, arguing they had colluded to keep him out of the league after he had been unable to find a team.

Rihanna said in an interview with Vogue in 2019 that she “couldn’t be a sellout, I couldn’t be an enabler” and said there were things within the NFL “that I do not agree with at all”.

The singer did not hold the usual pre-Super Bowl press conference but conducted an interview with a presenter from half-time show sponsors Apple Music and she said her music would reflect her Caribbean roots.

“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show: representation. Representing for immigrants. Representing for black women everywhere. That’s key for people to see the possibilities,” she said.

“It’s a long way from home, right? It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on. I could have never guessed that I would have made it here, so it’s a celebration of that. I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl stage.”

Rihanna gave away no clues about who her expected guest artists would be on stage but said her set-list would be a “celebration” of her catalogue.

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