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26 February 2024

Jay-Z turned down Super Bowl halftime out of 'principle'

By Bang

Jay-Z turned down the Super Bowl halftime show previously because he was told to bring out major guests.

The '99 Problems' rapper has revealed he rejected the chance to headline the sporting showpiece "on principle", because he was told he would need to bring out Rihanna and Kanye West as surprise acts.

In an interview with The New York Times newspaper, Jay - who is married to Beyonce - said: "Of course I would have, but I said, 'No, you get me.'

"That is not how you go about it, telling someone that they're going to do the halftime show contingent on who they bring.

"I said forget it. It was a principle thing."

Despite declining the halftime show, Jay teamed up with NFL for a music and social justice campaign last year.

The rapper became the sports league's "live music entertainment strategist" as part of the partnership with his company Roc Nation, and he also works with them on their Inspire Change activism campaign.

He said previously: "The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive.

"They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good."

As part of the partnership, the 50-year-old star is involved in selecting and producing the Super Bowl halftime performance, despite slamming the NFL in his song 'Apes**t', in which he rapped about turning down the coveted show in solidarity of Colin Kaepernick, whose take-the-knee protest at racial inequality saw him ousted from the league.

But despite the criticism, NFL bosses said Jay - who had described the footballer as an "iconic figure" akin to Muhammad Ali and wore a custom version of Kaepernick's jersey on 'Saturday Night Live' in 2017 - was an ideal partner because they were looking for people who will hold them to account.

Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, said: "We don't want people to come in and necessarily agree with us; we want people to come in and tell us what we can do better.

"I think that's a core element of our relationship between the two organisations, and with Jay and I personally."

Colin started the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016, which saw him and several other players refuse to stand during the national anthem at games in protest against police brutality and racial injustice.