It’s officially…official. Maroon 5 are headlining the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
And they’ll be doing so with help from rapper Travis Scott and OutKast’s Big Boi.
Ending months of speculation, confirmation came courtesy of the Adam Levine fronted band who shared their video reveal on social media:
The news adds a new dimension to what has already been a rocky outing for all involved.
Once the most sought-after gig an artist could dream of, this year’s slot has arguably been soured by the on-going furore surrounding the treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
At a time, he served as one of the NFL‘s most prized performers. Yet, he faced resistance when he begun taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest the unjust treatment of Black Americans. As the debate surrounding his actions intensified, he eventually was frozen out and hasn’t played in years. A reality that has angered many – including several in the entertainment sphere.
Indeed, what has long been the most potent platform available to a performer (see: Halftime) was passed on by acts approached before Maroon 5 – including Rihanna and Pink, who are said to be standing in solidarity with Kaepernick.
Even when Levine and co signed on the dotted line, several reports claimed they were struggling to secure guests to join them. Even Cardi B, with whom they scored a recent #1 on the Hot 100, being wearing of affiliating.
It’s notable that, with less than a month to the February 3rd broadcast, today’s announcement comes just three weeks before showtime. A move that’s virtually unheard of in the grand scheme of Super Bowl headliners and a move that, perhaps, lends credence to the suggestion of chaos behind the scenes.
For the band though, there’s sure to be a sigh of relief now that the news is out and that, at least from an optics perspective, their show on paper is rooted in some form of diversity and salutes host city of Atlanta. Specifically, given that both guest acts are Afro-American and that Big Boi is an ATL native.
Scott, however, is aware of the possible backlash heading his way. Particularly with the likes of Meek Mill, Jay-Z, and Rev Al Sharpton reportedly among those who urged him to turn down the offer in light of the controversy.
As such, 30 minutes before his involvement was confirmed, the ‘Sicko Mode’ rapper announced that he and the NFL would jointly be donating $500,000 to Dream Corps – a nonprofit founded by CNN commentator Van Jones that supports “economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators.”
Scott said in the statement announcing the contribution:
“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in. 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.”
Suffice to say, all involved are now tasked with delivering a spectacle that somehow manages to cut through the controversy.
Sure, they’ll be following the unanimously panned performance of Justin Timberlake (which “should” be an advantage), but – at the same time – few (if any) Super Bowl headliner has been at the center of this amount of scrutiny pre taking to the stage.
So, good luck to them because they’ll most definitely need it.
The 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show airs live from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb 3rd.