Ending months of speculation, the National Football League (NFL) Monday confirmed Maroon 5 will perform at this year’s Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta. Rapper and six-time Grammy nominee Travis Scott will perform with the band, and Atlanta native Big Boi was announced as host for the event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2019
To be aired on February 3, 2019, the Super Bowl found itself in the middle of a storm, with pop icon Rihanna, who has performed before, rejecting the offer this year in support of former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice. Several other artists have refused to perform this year, in what is seen as one of the most sought-after music gigs.
Thousands signed petition urging the three-time Grammy award winner Maroon 5 to not perform this year in solidarity with Kaepernick. The page reads in part, “Kaepernick risked his career to take a knee for equality, and the NFL punished him for it. Until the league changes their policy and supports players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.” Actress Amy Schumer had also, in October last year, appealed to the band to pull out of performing, in what is the most-watched show on television.
Scott also announced that he and the NFL are making a joint $500,000 donation to social justice nonprofit Dream Corps.
“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott reportedly said in a statement. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”
Maroon 5 have sold more than 53 million albums and 48 million singles and set a record for the most No. 1 singles (nine) by a group in the 20-year history of the top-40 chart. Scott’s No. 1 single “Sicko Mode” was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance and best rap song, and his latest album, “Astroworld,” also earned a Grammy nomination for best rap album. Big Boi is best known as a member of hip-hop duo Outkast, which has sold 25 million albums and won six Grammys. His most-recent album, “Boomiverse,” was released in June 2017.
Last year’s Super Bowl halftime show featured Justin Timberlake in his return after he was part of Janet Jackson’s notorious “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 NFL title game. The list of past Super Bowl halftime performers includes Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Prince, Paul McCartney, U2, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson
(Inputs from Reuters)