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Rihanna to headline 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show

The event takes place next February

By Tom Skinner

Rihanna in the official video for her single 'Needed Me'
Rihanna, 'Needed Me' official video. CREDIT: Rihanna's official YouTube

Rihanna has confirmed that she’ll headline the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show, marking her first live performance in over five years.

The pop star shared the news yesterday (September 25) by posting an image of a hand clutching an NFL-branded football on social media. NFL, Roc Nation and new Halftime Show sponsor Apple Music also announced the 15-minute set, which will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 12, 2023.

Rihanna last took to the stage at the Grammy Awards in January 2018, where she played ‘Wild Thoughts’ alongside DJ Khaled. Her eighth and most recent studio album, ‘ANTI’, came out back in 2016. Details of a follow-up record are yet to emerge.

The singer declined the offer to take on the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2018 and 2019. Rihanna made the decision not to participate in the event in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who was the first NFL player to take a knee for the National anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016 season.

“I just couldn’t be a sellout,” Rihanna told Vogue in 2019. “I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organisation that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Since then, however, production on the Super Bowl show has been taken over by Roc Nation. Rihanna signed with the company, which was founded by Jay-Z, in 2014. Apple Music, meanwhile, has taken over from Pepsi as the event’s official sponsor.

In a statement, Jay-Z hailed Rihanna as “a talent of a generation, a woman of humble beginnings who has exceeded expectations at every turn”.

He added: “Someone who was born on the small island of Barbados and became one of the most prominent artists of all time. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

Seth Dodowsky, Head of Music at the NFL, said he was “extremely pleased to welcome Rihanna to the stage of the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show”.

Dudowsky continued: “Rihanna is a once-in-a-generation artist and has been a cultural force throughout her career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring another historic performance at Halftime to fans.”

The announcement comes after it was reported that Taylor Swift had turned down the offer to play the Super Bowl 57 Halftime Show.

Last year’s show was headlined by Dr. Dre, who played alongside Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige.

Earlier this year, Rihanna and her boyfriend A$AP Rocky welcomed their first child.