Rappers performing parallel to Atlanta’s Super Bowl festivities raise questions about who should profit during politically charged times.
This week is Super Bowl LIII and naturally, the club promotions have already been swirling. In Atlanta, nightlife is hallowed from the dance floor to the pole. The Super Bowl is the perfect reason for the town to flaunt its party going ways.
You know melanin couldn’t resist showing up in Atlanta for the Super Bowl. In the mecca of trap music, SB related events have been popping since last weekend. Between Atlanta staples like Pastor Troy and Goodie Mob hosting pre-event week festivities, the A is on fire. There is even a Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest featuring everyone from Ludacris and Lil Yachty to Bruno Mars and Cardi B.
But Hip-Hop is not truly standing with Colin Kaepernick. In fact, it’s displaying itself as a hot mess when the NFL’s biggest week owns hip hop by proxy. Although it is admirable that Cardi B said no when asked to be the lead performer, she still has a pretty prominent performance during the SB week.
Tell Them Why You Mad, Son
The collective hip hop world and hip hop twitter were beside themselves when it was announced that Travis Scott would perform at the halftime show. Although Scott is not the main performer, the hip hop world was in an uproar. From Jay-Z to Rihanna and Cardi B, Black entertainment’s elite needed us to know that they were not down with a Kaepernick-less NFL.
Mind you, Big Boi of Outkast is also performing and Gladys Knight is singing the national anthem to top off the show. But, Scott is the controversial lightning rod. So controversial that the headlining act, Maroon 5 bowed out of their traditional SB press conference just to avoid questions.
In the past, this platform yielded guitar jam sessions by Prince, so you know how dope a halftime show would be.
Kaepernick never made this about the NFL or the flag.
Because the NFL, the owners + The President made it about the anthem & the flag and screwed Kaepernick out of work.
I have refused to watch Football until Kaep gets paid, which would be the NFL acknowledging their mistake.
— Ebro (@oldmanebro) January 16, 2019
After the announcement was made, Variety reported Scott had consulted with Kaepernick before he confirmed his Super Bowl appearance. According to sources close to Scott, the two had a phone call where there was a mutual understanding.
— NESSA (@nessnitty) January 16, 2019
That apparently was a lie. Kaepernick and his girlfriend, Hot 97 personality Nessa, took to Twitter denying their complicity with Scott’s decision to perform. However, Scott made the NFL donate to charities on his behalf in exchange for the performance. Although still deemed traitorous by hip-hop, at least his involvement includes a community giveback.
Party With A Purpose Or Just Because?
Unlike Scott, no other hip hop act has publicly stated their intention to donate income from their Super Bowl weekend. A quick glance on popular Atlanta nightlife websites and blogs will detail how you can turn up all week long. From T.I. to Meek Mill, festivities are not sanctioned by Roger Goodell but are street certified. That is the problem.
I have searched for the celebrity-driven protests. All I see is Colin Kaepernick. It is becoming quite clear that Kaepernick is the only one truly standing on principle. It is hard to disassociate the movement from the entirety of Super Bowl week. These artists know that the economy of Atlanta will receive a healthy financial infusion due to the event.
I have been waiting for our Black celebrities to openly steer sales towards small businesses owned by locals in marginalized communities. I am wondering when the announcements of donations to families of victims like Sandra Bland or countless others will happen?
Corporations like Bud Light and more already have their hands all over Super Bowl event week. The Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest headliners featuring Cardi B and Bruno Mars need to force their hand in donating. Many will come to Atlanta, not to support the NFL’s Super Bowl but to have a good Georgia time. They should make the Super Bowl week’s entertainment outliers accountable.
Like, Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick, and other brave NFL players put their livelihood on the line for a national cause. “I’m Standing with Kap” remains the blanket label for hip hop “woke-ness” but that cause is lost in ‘turn up’ translation.