For a girl like me, no matter how tomboy-ish I may appear on the outside, I don’t know a damn thing about football. And no matter how hard I try to concentrate on the rules, the players, or the ball I fumble trying to keep up with the game. My husband, a die-hard football fan gave up trying to educate me on football, professional and college. He’s ok with me not understanding the game and that’s what you call love, people. But seriously, I’m really fucking pathetic when it comes to football. I can watch the game from the actual sideline or from my living room…. Shit, you could play it on an IMAX Theater screen in 3-D and I will literally continue to float off into mental cyberspace. That also doesn’t mean in 30 years of living I’ve 86’ed the game and all its accompanying festivities just because I drift into deep thoughts like worrying if I remembered to lock my door or if all the batteries in my remotes will die soon. I’ve tailgated, made mindless ass-bets on winners, and naturally I’ve been to Super Bowl parties. And for a person like me, who only recognizes a “quarterback” as a refund (thank you, Bebe’s Kids for that one), the ONLY thing I look forward to at Superbowl parties are the booze, the clever commercials, and the Halftime Show.
With our current social climate, it’s harder for someone like me to appreciate the upcoming Super Bowl and its band of fake ass perks. Nowadays, Super Bowl Sunday is Black History Month’s annual remembrance of whose team you chose to stand or kneel with, metaphorically and literally speaking. As the tension and controversy of White America’s NFL thickens regarding the “sons of bitches” that decided to take a knee with Kap, additionally boosts the pressure of booking A-list talent to fill the Halftime Show. White, Black, Puerto Rican or Haitian, if you choose to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show be prepared to get DRAGGED. Top artists from Rihanna to Cardi B for the 2019 show, predominantly in the Hip Hop and pop communities denied requests to perform the Halftime show as a figurative show of their exerted solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
For a sport that employs a majority of Black athletes while catering to a mixed / on-the-verge-of predominantly white audience it would already be pathetic if we’re shucking and jiving in the middle of the same field that we’re not even allowed to peacefully protest on. In 2016, Beyonce turned the NFL Halftime Show into a political buzzword when she and her beautiful brown dancers pulled up flexing their Black Panther gear while raising their black fists high. Representing the Black Panther movement in performance could’ve only been as tastefully accomplished by someone as powerful as Beyonce. She used her political correctness and stardom to perfectly execute a symbolic production during the American sporting event of the year... A sport, mind you, that is currently ostracizing their own for similarly using their platforms for the same reason. Bravissimo, Yonce!
How quickly the universe shifts into The Upside Down when Black culture becomes so influential that celebrities eagerly dismiss what was once considered the ultimate gig of one’s career, such as performing for the NFL Halftime show or hosting The Oscars. Pop culture’s top sensation, Cardi B, had no problem voicing her support for Colin Kaepernick and his movement during her speech at the 2017 VMA’s saying, “Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we gonna standing for you, baby!” Cue DJ Khaled’s, “Congratulations. You played yourself” soundbite to whatever dummy thought proposing a performance deal for the NFL Halftime show to Cardi B was going to switch her gear shift to the Far Left. Big Pun.
Along with the NFL, let’s not forget the infamous hashtag #OscarSoWhite a few years back, partially led by Jada Pinkett Smith and her assertively candid remarks that pulled the Academy’s card for marginalizing Black talent, allowing so few of them nominees on the board. Since then the Oscars have been nothing of non-consistent after they struck a match underneath Kevin Hart’s ass for some inappropriate years-old tweets of jokes he’s made about regarding homosexuality. Refusing to delete the tweets, Hart backed down from hosting the Oscars… of course with no sweat off his back as it would’ve probably been a disservice to his image by playing Pinocchio on stage for an academy now popularly known for discriminating against talent of color.
Let’s be honest here. The Oscars more than likely need Black talent more than we need them. People in general don’t care about award shows like they used to. Everyone is scrolling through Instagram for outfit details on the red carpet or watching Twitter for updates on the the nominations they care specifically about… and any hilarious blooper or fuck up they catch on-air will be viral on all social platforms in a matter of moments. Linear TV is already dying a very painful death, and if it’s one thing you can count on that won’t improve that statistic is by assuming Black people are rushing home to watch the Oscars without at LEAST someone Black or relatable hosting.
But when you think about the NFL, although still enjoyed by a wide range of people, I anticipate that the Super Bowl won’t be the hierarchy of most watched television very soon. When talent like Rihanna, P!nk, Cardi B, and Jay Z say Kap-Over-Everything aka FOH Halftime Show… you’ve got yourself in a bit of a pickle, viewership wise. Even Maroon 5, a band that has performed the Super Bowl Halftime Show several times, is getting dragged for doing yet another show during still another shitty, racist year in NFL / American history. You know how big mad the world has to be if we’re judging the all white members of Maroon 5 for not putting some respeck on Kaepernick’s stance!? Outside of opting to be apart of any commercials during the Halftime Show, Amy Schumer added that, “...it would be cool if [Maroon 5] backed out of Super Bowl like [Rihanna] did. I know opposing the NFL is like opposing the NRA. Very tough, but don’t you want to be proud of how you’re living?” Ouch! How dangerous it is to even compare the NFL and the NRA organizations with one another?! Two of the largest, dirtiest, anti-Black, Ain’t Shittest political circuses of our time and many before us….. I’m standing with Amy on that one. She said what she said and that’s it!
Even though Maroon 5 brushed off the overwhelming disappointment from their fans by accepting to perform, they were scrambling to NOT be the only act (of white boys) in the city of Atlanta abundant in Black / hip hop culture. After over a half dozen rejections, (drumroll) load up your backfire as we are proud to announce (insert sad clown face) Travis Scott and Big Boi eventually accepted the invitation to perform for the NFL Halftime Show 2019. It’s bad enough we’ve been judging Travis Scott for impregnating the youngest and uberly privileged Kylie Jenner, but you really digging a deeper ditch into The Sunken Place, right beside our once beloved but now muted MAGA supporter, Kanye West.
It’s hard not to be proud of our people for having the capacity to destroy the coolness and popularity of several major events because we refuse to celebrate institutions that don’t celebrate us. We finally recognize that we are indeed the trailblazers the culture vultures of this world stubbornly hate to admit they admire. Without adversity, unfortunately, we cannot substantially make a difference to our opposition. Now that we have, though, if shit doesn’t change eventually these institutions will be obsolete and those gigs that were once painted as the game-changers of our careers will continue to be the laughing stocks of our generation. Whether you’re attending a Super Bowl Party this year for the plays or the played out Halftime Show, just remember you have to somehow get drunk enough to listen to Maroon 5 without Cardi B. #ImWithKap #AllBlackEverything
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images