Rihanna On NFL Owners And Super Bowl: I Couldn’t Be A Sellout, My People Wouldn’t Benefit

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Rihanna’s
Singer Rihanna attends the 4th annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Rihanna is not with the ‘Auntie Tomasina’ antics. In an interview with Vogue, the entrepreneur, singer, designer and philanthropist said she refuses to sell out her people for a dollar. The Fenty Beauty creator revealed she turned down this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show to stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

“Absolutely … I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler,” Rihanna said when asked if it was true supporting Kaepernick prompted her refusal to perform.

The former star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick paid a huge price for taking a knee during the U.S. national anthem. He started his crusade in 2016 in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.

Since Super Bowl organizers couldn’t book Rihanna, Maroon 5 performed with Big Boi from Outkast and Travis Scott as guests instead. The latter two artists came under fire for their role in the show.

He sparked a kneeling movement that other players joined, causing an uproar in the NFL. Many of Kaepernick’s peers, fans, fellow activists and social justice advocates praised him for his stance. However, critics claimed Kaepernick was unpatriotic and divisive and when he became a free agent, the 49ers did not resign him. Despite being a top athlete, neither did any other team and he was effectively blackballed from the league.

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Rihanna said she couldn’t in good conscience support such audacious behavior by the league towards Black people.

“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,” the Diamond Ball founder said.