In an interview given to the Associated Press, Grammy-nominated rapper Cardi B confirmed she declined an invitation to perform at this Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, and explained exactly why she made that choice. “I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us,” she said, referring to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“My husband, he loves football. His kids play football. It’s really hard for him,” Cardi B said of how her husband, Offset, feels. “He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can’t go to the Super Bowl, because he’s got to stand for something.”
Kaepernick has been off the field for two seasons and unable to find a team to sign him after he led protests against racial injustice and police violence in the U.S. by kneeling during the singing of the national anthem before NFL games. His protests started a wider movement within the league, and led to President Trump saying that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired.
While Cardi B is not performing at the halftime show, she will be performing this weekend at a Super Bowl-related party and is also appearing in a Super Bowl commercial. In the AP interview, she maintained that she could make these appearances without directly supporting the NFL.
“I hear people saying like ‘Oh, y’all are saying all this stuff about the Super Bowl, but you’re doing all these parties,’” she said. “And it’s like, well, if the NFL could benefit off from us, then I’m going to benefit off y’all. Y’all make the most money off our people. Why am I not going to take advantage of y’all and take money from y’all too? Because of y’all, we are getting these parties. OK, thank you.”
Numerous other performers, including Rihanna and P!nk, also turned down the opportunity to perform at the halftime show. Sunday’s performers will be Maroon 5, joined by Big Boi of Outkast and rapper Travis Scott.
Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos has criticized how Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is handling the band’s choice to perform in the show. “If you’re going to cross this ideological or intellectual picket line, then own it, and Adam Levine certainly isn’t owning it,” Geragos said this week on Good Morning America, according to Spin. “In fact, if anything, it’s a cop-out when you start talking about, ‘I’m not a politician, I’m just doing the music.’ Most of the musicians who have any kind of consciousness whatsoever understand what’s going on here.”
Cardi B said she had “mixed feelings” about turning down the show but ultimately her loyalties lie with Kaepernick and what he stands for. “We got to stand behind him,” she said.
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