Roc Nation Management, who manages the singer, confirmed her participation in the event with HuffPost on Sunday.
Before Roc Nation made the official announcement, Rihanna posted a photo on Instagram of her tattoo-covered hand holding a football, signaling her participation in next year’s festivities. The photo garnered over 2 million likes in less than two hours.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Jay-Z said in a statement to HuffPost. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”
Rihanna was previously invited to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show, but turned down the prestigious offer to stand in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
That same year marked the third anniversary of Kaepernick’s kneeling protest of the national anthem at NFL games, which began in 2016 in protest of racial injustice and police brutality against Black people in the U.S. By 2019, other NFL players and professional athletes had joined Kaepernick’s protest by taking a knee or raising fists during the national anthem. Kaepernick has remained an unsigned agent since the 2016 season.
When asked by Vogue in 2019 if it was true that Rihanna turned down the halftime show offer in support of Kaepernick, the singer replied: “Absolutely,” adding that she refused to be a “sellout” and “enabler.”
“I couldn’t dare do that,” Rihanna told the magazine. “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 that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
The Super Bowl halftime show, which takes place on Feb. 12, will mark the inaugural partnership between Apple Music, the NFL and Roc Nation.
NFL Head of Music Seth Dudowsky said the league is looking forward to the singer’s performance.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage,” Dudowsky stated. “Rihanna is a once in a generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”
Record producer Evan Rogers discovered Rihanna in 2003 and introduced her to Jay-Z, who signed her to Def Jam Recordings in 2005.