Rihanna’s much anticipated Super Bowl halftime show is just around the corner. This will be her first performance in nearly seven years, since she took a hiatus from touring and making new music. In an interview with Apple Music ahead of Sunday’s performance, she expressed gratitude about her invitation to perform, saying that she was surprised she was asked to perform only three months postpartum.
Despite Rihanna’s humility, her fans are anything but surprised. Her countless pop hits are expected to create an energetic and creative show, just like she always has.
a thing we all know, rihanna's superbowl setlist will be fire pic.twitter.com/d0Up7ua3Eb
— NOSTALGIA (@notgwendalupe) February 9, 2023
If you ask me who I’m rooting for for the #SuperBowl I’ll say @rihanna with my whole damn chest.
— Cassadee Pope (@CassadeePope) February 10, 2023
Can’t wait for Rihanna’s concert (interrupted by a football game) on sunday!!!
— O M A R (@OmarRudberg) February 10, 2023
Rihanna emphasized how many moving pieces are coming together to make Sunday’s performance possible. The elaborate set will require approximately 300 people to build and break down after the 13 minute long show.
The set list is arguably the most challenging part of the show to assemble for an artist with such an extensive catalogue. Rihanna revealed that the set list has changed 39 times leading up to the big day. While fans are making predictions about which of their favorite songs will be featured, Rihanna warned that a few songs from her 17 year career unfortunately couldn’t make the cut.
Rihanna says the halftime show will be a 13 minute “celebration of her catalogue” pic.twitter.com/53N79Ef0IO
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) February 9, 2023
Rihanna also hinted at possibly bringing a secret guest performer with her. Fans took a look back at some of her most iconic duets and began taking guesses at who it may be on Twitter.
do we think rihanna will bring out avril for cheers (drink to that)
— brittany spanos (@ohheybrittany) February 10, 2023
The latest Apple Music advertisement for Rihanna’s performance pays homage to her native Barbados. At the end of the advertisement, it’s revealed that the video was filmed on the actual street she grew up on in Bridgetown, Barbados.
New Trailer @rihanna #FentyBowl #AppleMusicHalftime pic.twitter.com/aXaXVu1Tyo
— 𝘃𝗮𝗹 🏈 (@RihannaData) February 9, 2023
Others praised the creative football themed advertisement for Rihanna’s massively successful makeup brand, Fenty Beauty. The ad features footballs being painted with the vast shade range of Fenty Beauty’s foundation.
rihanna’s marketing team needs a 10 million dollar raise like this is so good pic.twitter.com/AtLx5S56rY
— o-knee (@__Onixivy_) February 9, 2023
Despite the uproar of praise and joy surrounding Rihanna’s long anticipated return to performing, there was still criticism. Former President Donald Trump slammed her today, years after she previously criticized Trump’s far-right leaning politics. Trump initially posted about her stating that “Without her stylist she’d be NOTHING. Bad everything, and NO TALENT!” But as it may seem, he messed with the wrong fan base.
Not surprising, Trump is attacking Rihanna days before her Super Bowl performance. He posted: “Without her stylist she’d be NOTHING. Bad everything, and NO TALENT!” Trump has a thing about attacking powerful Black women. And Rihanna must really bug him, being richer than him. pic.twitter.com/tVrS1neboG
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) February 10, 2023
Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas jumped on the bandwagon, saying that Rihanna should be barred from the Super Bowl. Rihanna has only ever criticized right-leaning politicians for limiting primarily immigration and women’s rights.
Rihanna spray painted “F*** Donald Trump” on a car at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. She’s made a career of spewing degenerate filth while badmouthing America every chance she gets. Why is the NFL showcasing this crap? Rihanna SHOULD NOT be the halftime performer!!
— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) February 9, 2023
The criticism of the NFL’s decision to invite Rihanna to perform was quickly drowned out. Many argued that Rihanna’s history of activism only makes her more American given the events of the last few years.
First of all, stop acting all surprised, MAGA.
We all knew Rihanna was anti-Trump. She’s been an activist for years, and she’s never been a fan of Right Wing Extremism. Just like MOST BLACK PEOPLE AREN’T.
Rihanna is a National Treasure and you will not come for her. Period. pic.twitter.com/CpLR5EFfh8
— RazzLi (@razzli_) February 9, 2023
Rihanna’s pop music defined the early 2000s and 2010s, and while fans were happy to see her success in the cosmetics industry and follow her journey to motherhood, there is undoubtedly excitement in the air for her return to the stage. Even with her nerves and the many hours of preparation that went into developing the elaborate performance, Rihanna is certain to shine bright like a diamond.