Super Bowl LVI Half-Time Show (2022)
Were we thrilled or infuriated that the legendary hip-hop producer Dr. Dre teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar for the Pepsi Half-Time Show of Super Bowl 56? Perhaps both?
While the show was a stand-out, even amongst recent and past killer performances (think Beyoncé in 2013, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2014, Prince in 2007, and of course Michael Jackson in 1993), at a moment when the white NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the majority white owners of the league’s thirty-two teams have uniformly prevented Colin Kaepernick from getting signed, kneeling, arm bands, bans, protests, and whatever other forms of making it well known that we aren’t pleased are still absolutely necessary.
Colin is the tip of the iceberg too. The black coach Brian Flores has bravely risked his career to speak out and mount a lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices in a league that has only one black head coach, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and 57.5% black players (71% men of colour).
Of course, it’s not the sole responsibility of musicians to hold the NFL to account for its ongoing systemic racism. But would a little solidarity be in order? Of course! What solidarity looks like now is worth debating.