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Rihanna: Mother of all Super Bowl Halftime Shows

by Yucatan Times
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To get through the ultimate rite of passage of the contemporary global pop star – filling the handful of minutes of the Super Bowl halftime show – some artists call a bunch of friends so they don’t get lonely (Dr. Dre, 2022), move non-stop (Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, 2020) or change their clothes so many times you don’t even know anymore (Katy Perry, 2015). But not Rihanna. She chose to take it easy this Sunday at the Glendale (Arizona) stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles (38-35) to win their third NFL title.

Perhaps it was because, as it later became known, she is pregnant with her second child with rapper A$AP Rocky. Her figure and that gesture of caressing her belly at the beginning of the performance unleashed an avalanche of comments and speculation, not exactly musical. Once the most followed mini-concert on the planet was over, the artist’s representative confirmed the suspicions. So not only did the singer make American soccer history; without opening her mouth, but she also starred in perhaps the most-watched pregnancy announcement in history.

Before all that, Rihanna, 34, had descended from the skies atop a platform, clad in a red jumpsuit, adorned with enviable poise, and surrounded by dozens of dancers in white toe shoes reminiscent of an army of beekeepers. These did sweat it out and spread out across other waterworks that went up and down.

Then the star cast one of her feline glances at the million-strong audience and launched into an impassive tribute to herself.

Without her friends’ help, she sang a medley of her greatest hits. Twelve fell, conveniently chopped up: among others, Rude Boy, Wild Thoughts, Only Girl (In the World), Work or We Found Love, before launching into a coda that sounded skeptic-proof: All of the Lights (without Kanye West), Umbrella (without Jay-Z), the song that put her on the map 16 years ago, and Diamonds.

During the 13-minute show, she walked leisurely across the moving stage like a model who had already conquered all the catwalks. In the end, the pulleys lifted her back up to the skies, in the definitive demonstration that, besides being an artist endowed with charisma and a voice capable of anything, it is clear that she is completely lacking in vertigo.

She showed so much courage and so much disinterest in living up to the expectation that her performance had awakened after seven years without releasing an album and four years of not playing live, that she ended up succeeding oppositely. It was as if he had decided to gamble it all on a single card. That card said: “Hi, I’m Rihanna, if you don’t like what you see, it’s not my problem”. And it went down well, it went down well. The stadium went crazy again and again, with every song change, with every eyebrow raised, with every slight hip movement.

While her fans were waiting for her to unravel the daisy of her new album, an album that she has been recording for too long and threatens to call R9, the singer delved into her entrepreneurial side. Doing justice to that instinct, she marketed in the days leading up to the game a limited edition T-shirt that read: “Rihanna concert interrupted by a soccer game, as strange as it may be”. Nor was it strange then that the only moment of her show in which she changed her gesture was to touch up her makeup with one of the cosmetic products with which she has entertained her time away from music, a time in which her current account has not stopped fattening: Forbes valued in 2021 her fortune at 1.7 billion dollars.

Nothing Rihanna did on stage at the Super Bowl, which had a new sponsor, Apple Music, helped explain her change of heart in agreeing to participate in a show she had rejected in the past because of the problematic way in which the U.S. professional soccer league has dealt with the problem of racism in the United States. Perhaps it helped that last year the coveted halftime show was given to a group of rappers led by Dr. Dre (who, yes, called as many of his colleagues as he could), or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the first time in history the two quarterbacks in contention for the title, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, were black players.

In the end, the glory went to Mahomes.

TYT Newsroom

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