Rihanna: There’s something exhilarating about Super Bowl halftime show challenge

Rihanna: There’s Something Exhilarating About Super Bowl Halftime Show Challenge
Rihanna poses for a photo after a halftime show news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 NFL game in Phoenix, Arizona, © Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Rihanna has said that as a new mother there is “something exhilarating” about the challenge of performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The Barbadian singer said following the birth of her son she felt like she could “take on the world” and that it was “important” for him to see her on one of the world’s biggest stages.


She is due to take the coveted 13-minute slot on Sunday, which will be her first live performance in seven years.

Super Bowl Halftime Performance Football
Rihanna speaks during a halftime show news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 NFL game (Mike Stewart/AP)

Rihanna previously declined to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show out of solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who became recognised around the world for taking a knee to protest against racial injustice in the US.


Speaking at the Apple Music pre-game press conference on Thursday, she said: “When I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like ‘Are you sure? I’m three months postpartum, should I be making major decisions like this right now? Like, I might regret this.’

“But when you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world. You can do anything, and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world.

“So as scary as that was, because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all.

“And it’s important for me to do this, this year it’s important for representation and it’s important for my son to see that.”


Despite her prolonged hiatus from the music business, Rihanna has built a business empire with her Fenty beauty and fashion brands.

She said that her work-life balance was now “very different” due to caring for her child, and that work commitments had to be “worth it”.

“The balance is almost impossible because no matter how you look at it, work is always something that’s going to rob you of time with your child,” she said.


“That’s the currency now and that’s where it goes, the magnitude of how much it weighs. When you make decisions on what you’re going to say yes to. It has to be worth it.”

Rihanna went on to describe preparations for Sunday’s show, saying the physical training had been “immense” but that curating the setlist had been “the biggest challenge” – with around 39 iterations having already been produced.

She admitted that she had been so focused on the Super Bowl that she had forgotten about all other upcoming events including Valentine’s Day and even her own birthday.

Asked about how she was feeling, she replied that she appeared “relaxed” but that that was “a Caribbean thing”, adding that representing her culture was “really important”.

“Representing for immigrants, representing for my country Barbados, representing for black women everywhere… I just think that’s really important, (it’s) key for people to see the possibilities, and I’m honoured to be doing this,” she said.

Rihanna new release
The Barbadian singer said following the birth of her son she felt like she could ‘take on the world’ (Ian West/PA)

“It’s a long way from home. It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on, and I could have never guessed that I would have made it here.

“So it’s a celebration of that. I’m like, I’m excited to do that and then I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl.”

She added that she had promised herself she would have fun at the show no matter what.

Rihanna is expected to be joined by several special guests at the Apple Music Super Bowl VII halftime show on Sunday, though no further details were given at the press conference.

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