Is the NFL Institutionalized Slavery? Rihanna Turns Down Superbowl Performance in Support of Colin Kaepernick
BY: MACKENZIE GALLOWAY
R&B sensation and fashion icon Rihanna, declined the offer to perform at the super bowl halftime, to show her support for Colin Kaepernick and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.. In a statement, Rihanna said that she declined to “stand with the players and Colin Kaepernick”. Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016 in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and has since been fired from his former team the 49ers, not signing with any team since. As the new face of the Nike “Just Do It” campaign, Kaepernick is now suing the NFL for collusion, and many are referring to the NFL as “Institutionalized Slavery”, saying “free the million dollar NFL slaves”!
Amidst Kaepernick’s movement to call attention to the institutionalized racism of the NFL, ratings have decreased greatly, with viewership dropping 10% last season, and an even greater decline expected this season. With the NFL being composed og 68% black players, it is sometimes referred to as “institutionalized slavery”. The NFL since Kaepernick’s kneeling, has made it harder and harder for players to exercise their freedom of speech and right to protest, in protest against the national anthem and its racist lyrics. As of May 2018, players are fined if they kneel during the National Anthem. “They love being entertained by us, but they don’t love us”.
Nike has shown support of Kapernick by signing a “top of the line” multi million dollar deal with Kaepernick. In addition to the “Just Do It” ad, NIKE also released a “Just Do It” video narrated by Kaepernick. The diverse and entertaining video features several other athletes including Lebron James and Serena Williams.
After the NIKE ad was released, many NIKE supporters and NFL fans burned their NIKE apparel, to display their anger with NIKE using Kaepernick as the face of their brand. Some stores, lawmakers and school officials even banned NIKE apparel. United States President Donald Trump had referred to the kneeling as disrespectful to the military, calling NFL player who kneel “Sons of bitches”. Wheeew chile!
A 280 million record-seller, Rihanna, is not the first celebrity to turn down the offer to perform at the 2019 superbowl in support of Kapernick. Beyonce and Jay-Z declined the offer as well, Beyonce stating in her song “APESHIT” that: “I said no to the Super Bowl. You need me. I don’t need you”. Amy Schumer also turned down a Super Bowl advertisement, to stand in support of Kaepernick as well.
Kaepernick's last super bowl game was played in 2012, when his former team the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens. In the 2018 super bowl, Justin Timberlake performed. Other past performers include U2, Prince, Janet Jackson and Lady Gaga.
While Rihanna has not released an album since her 2015 smash hit “Anti”, Rihanna continues to reign a pioneer for music and fashion. Her Fenty Beauty, known for its variety of shades that appeals to people of all skin colors, has acquired a great deal of success; With a recorded profit of $100 million dollar within the first 40 days of its launch. Since then, Fenty beauty has become one of the most profitable and mass appealing makeup brands of the decade.
Rihanna has also announced an upcoming dancehall and soca album.
With “The Hate U Give”, being released October 5, the call to police brutality and #BlackLivesMatter --the causes in which Kaepernick kneels for-- have finally been put on the big screen. Now, those who do not understand the depths of capitalism and Black oppression in the US will be able to watch first hand what Black Americans go through on the daily.
Hopefully this movie enlightens those on what Kaepernick stands for, and why Rihanna is in full support. Rihanna is the literal definition of black excellence, and using her powerful voice for the betterment of Black people, speaking out against institutionalized slavery.