Though the participation of both Maroon 5 and Travis Scott had been rumored for months, the NFL had to overcome several hurdles to get to today’s announcement. Before settling on Maroon 5 as its headliner, the league reached out to several other artists, including Rihanna, Pink, Nicki Minaj, and André 3000, but were rebuffed by each of them, reportedly in solidarity of Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL QB who was seemingly blackballed from the league for protesting police brutality.
At the urging of JAY-Z, Scott himself nearly dropped out of the festivities, but agreed to move forward after the NFL made a substantial donation to social justice initiatives. Specifically, the NFL donated $500,000 to Van Jones’ Dream Corps, an organization which works on criminal justice reform and other social causes.
“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,” Scott said in a statement.
As for Big Boi, the Outkast rapper and Atlanta native brings some hometown talent to the Halftime Show.
Super Bowl 53 is set for February 3rd, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.