Speaking to the fashion outlet, the R&B star said she passed up on the NFL’s invite in order to stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been blackballed by the league for his decision to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of institutional racism and police brutality.
“I couldn’t dare do that,” RiRi said of the 2019 Halftime Show. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler.”
“There’s things within that organization [NFL] that I do not agree with at all,” she continued, “and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
It’s possible to read her use of the words “sellout” and “enabler” as digs at JAY-Z. The billionaire mogul recently entered into a controversial partnership with the NFL, one that Kaepernick’s attorney said “crossed the intellectual picket line.” On the other hand, JAY has called the deal “the next phase” in the fight for social justice Kaepernick started, as he’s now able to be directly involved in making changes to the league.
Elsewhere in the Vogue interview, Rihanna discussed Donald Trump and his response to the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem,” said the Grammy-winning artist. “The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president.”
Additionally, RiRi reassured fans that her new reggae-inspired album is still in the works, though it’s been difficult for her to find free time to focus on it. “I have been trying to get back into the studio,” she said of the project, the long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s Anti.