Do Black People Need Eminem Kneeling For Them? The Iconic White Rapper Takes A Knee At The Super Bowl

Image Credit: Twitter screen shot

Super Bowl LVI was a riveting back-and-forth affair between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams won Sunday’s game against the Bengals 23-20; however, the halftime show stole the moment again, as usual.

During the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, fans were treated to the vision of music impresario Dr. Dre and his protégés Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and collaborator Mary J. Blige.

Surprisingly, Eminem paid tribute to Colin Kaepernick during the pivotal moment.

The Kaep Effect

The Detroit rapper finished his set by dropping down to his knee in homage to Colin Kaepernick. Amid the thousands of people in SoFi Stadium and Dr. Dre feverishly in the background as the musical conductor, Eminem provided a symbolic moment that will forever be remembered.

The 30-second silent protest re-ignited the conversation when the NFL is going through a racial discrimination lawsuit from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

According to the NFL, the league did not attempt to stop Eminem from taking a knee, and they were aware that he might try it.

The NFL Was Aware

“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The cultural touchpoint was indicative of the new convergence of culture into the NFL narrative. It was the first time that hip-hop was the main performance slot of the coveted Super Bowl show.

Marking the third year of the collaboration between Pepsi, the NFL, and Roc Nation, Roc Nation serves as the strategic entertainment advisers of the live performance.

Super Bowl Statements

This was also the first time the five multi-award-winning artists performed together on stage. In addition, 50 Cent surprised the crowd by popping up on stage in his classic “In Da Club” upside-down style.

At the end of “Lose Yourself,” Eminem took a knee on the stage, put his right hand on his head, and looked downward. The NFL denied reports that it attempted to stop Eminem from making the gesture. Recently, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also walked back the league’s initial reaction to Flores’ racial discrimination suit.

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Goodell said the NFL had made progress in hiring diverse candidates, except in the coaching ranks.

“But not at head coach, and that is something that we really have focused on, to try to get the kind of results that we would expect, and we fell short of that by a long shot for us,” Goodell said to the media.

The words “END RACISM” were emblazoned on the field end zones.

Kaep’s Shadow

Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice during the 2016 season. Other players followed suit, and the move created widespread cultural controversy. The former Niners quarterback has been out of football since 2016.

Kaepernick spent his final year in the league kneeling before each game, all in the name of social justice.

The halftime show also paid respects to the musical foundations laid by those before Dr. Dre.

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Music For The Ages

George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic musical collage is the bedrock of G-Funk. Dre gave new momentum to Clinton and his unique sound by weaving it into the narrative of Los Angeles street life.

Eminem has always been Dr. Dre’s true testament to versatility. Their alignment transformed how the world envisioned rap music by expanding other voices within the culture.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.