INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Last year I wrote that the Super Bowl in Raymond James stadium was probably one of the Blackest Super Bowl telecasts in NFL history. After the summer of 2020 and the racial injustices we endured during the start of the pandemic, the NFL produced a show that would draw its Black sports fans back into the league.
This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was for Inglewood, Los Angeles and hip hop fans everywhere. This halftime show was one of the best performances I’ve seen since Bruno Mars and Beyonce’s set in 2016. It’s not up to me to determine which one was the best of the two, but we all can agree that this was amazing to see.
We saw the commercials before the Super Bowl directed by F. Gary Gray and the production of it drew fans in immediately. There were articles that questioned how this show would turn out and would it meet Hip-Hop fans’ expectations.
There were a lot of fans online questioning how the league could ask the headliners to only select one song from their stacked catalogs. As the show started, the tweets ramped up and fans shared how much they loved what they were watching. From inside of SoFi Stadium you could hear the screams and you could also see fans who didn’t know what was going on, but loved the vibe.
The halftime show headliners were Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar with 50 cent as a special guest. Most fans watching the show missed the music video reference of 50 cent hanging from his set because they might not have been born yet or they just didn’t remember it. Mary J. Blige served a stylish look with her beautiful blonde hair, thigh high boots and flawless vocals. Kendrick Lamar reminded us “We Gone Be Alright” while Eminem allegedly defied the NFL’s wishes by taking a knee after his performance.
It warmed my heart to see Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg back on stage together, but I’ll never forget how Dr. Dre has beaten women throughout his professional and personal life. As fans, we can enjoy the music while knowing that these artists are humanly flawed performing over a perfect beat.
With Republicans stating how they’re losing interest in the NFL and how some of them oppose the Rooney rule, you can tell they weren’t the targeted audience for this halftime show. However, their children might’ve enjoyed the show because they’ve danced to these songs on TikTok or at least their friends have. This show was for a millennial like myself who is proud of her Blackness and the sound of our music.
Black creatives were behind the scenes pulling off a phenomenal pre-game and halftime show at SoFi stadium. The production team includes Roc Nation’s Executive Vice President Jana Fleishman, Executive Producer Jesse Collins, Executive Producer Desiree Perez, Co-Executive Producer Dionne Harmon, Music Director Adam Blackstone, Wardrobe Designer Lila Nikole, Pre-game Producer Jeanne Rouzan-Clay and Production Designer Bruce Rodgers. Fatima Robinson choreographed the entire halftime show and she’s one of the most sought-after choreographers in the world. Pepsi and Roc Nation gave us the perfect musical experience in 15 to 20 minutes.
This experience felt like a final stop of the Last Episode tour that featured Dr. Dre & Friends, but we got to watch it for free. Well some of us did. Inglewood was the perfect host for this reunion, party and every fan mattered. Hip-Hop has helped so many of us deal with our everyday struggles that we face here in America. Hip-Hop has given a voice to communities that are silenced for crying out for help. For about fifteen minutes, I forgot how much more work the National Football League and America has to do for minorities.
Last year’s production and this year’s halftime show might inspire change, but how quickly will that happen? We shall see.