Rihanna poses for photos during a news conference ahead of her Super Bowl LVII halftime show inside the Phoenix Convention Center on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. (Photo Courtesy: The Atlanta Voice)

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show will be the first time the acclaimed singer and performer will have hit the stage in nearly seven years. In a press conference with Nadeska Alexis of Apple Music, Rihanna says it was important for her son to see her in all of her glory.

“When I first got the call to do it again this year I was like, ‘Are you sure? I’m three months postpartum. Should I be making major decisions like this right now? I might regret this,’” Rihanna said. “When you become a mom there’s something that happens where you feel like you can take on the world and can do anything. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. As scary as it was, because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. It’s important for me to do this year. It’s important for my son to see that.”

Even though Rihanna has not released an album since 2016, the lifestyle influencer, icon and business owner, Robyn Rihanna Fenty has a following in the hundreds of millions. Previously, Rihanna was offered to headline the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show in Atlanta, however she turned it down while showing solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

Since then, Rihanna realizes her fan base has been anxiously waiting for a performance by the nine-time GRAMMY award winner. However, she says she’s working on cramming seventeen years of her career into a thirteen-minute halftime show. 

“Some songs we have to lose because of that, and that’s going to be okay,” Rihanna continued. “We did a pretty good job at narrowing it down. There’s probably been about 39 versions of the setlist right now. We’re on our 39th. Every little change counts.”

Additionally, Rihanna says she will curate her show to pay homage to her country, Barbados, as well as Caribbean culture and Black women within the diaspora. 

“That’s a big part of why it’s important for me to do this show,” Rihanna said. “Representing for my country, Barbados. Representing for Black women everywhere. That’s really important.”

Rihanna’s only single since 2019, “Lift Me Up,” was featured in the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ soundtrack and has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Song. Fans have wondered, rather loudly, whether she’d drop a new album or possibly go on tour after the Super Bowl.

“Musically I’m feeling open,” Rihanna said while hinting at releasing new music. “I’m feeling open to exploring, discovering, creating things that are new, things that are different, things that are off, weird. Might not ever make sense to my fans. I want to have fun with music.”

In a related (but unrelated) news, former President Donald Trump criticized Rihanna on Truth Social account. 

“Without her “Stylist” she’d be NOTHING. Bad everything, and NO TALENT!” Trump posted on his Truth Social account. 

It was not the first time Trump and Rihanna have exchanged words. In 2018, Rihanna beat Trump in court when her performing rights company, Broadcast Music Inc., successfully filed a cease-and-desist motion after the former President played one of her songs at her rallies. 

Rihanna responded, “Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies.”

Former President Trump’s doctor, Texas Congressman Ronny Jackson, also didn’t forget that Rihanna did not support the former President. 

“Rihanna spray painted ‘F*** Donald Trump’ on a car at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo,” he wrote on Thursday. “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!!”

Viewers can watch the press conference demand on Apple Music, on Apple Music’s TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...