AP NEWS

Cardi B, Grammy-nominated singer, says she declined Super Bowl gig over support for Colin Kaepernick

February 2, 2019

Cardi B said she turned down a lucrative deal to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday because she felt compelled to support Colin Kaepernick, the controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback suing the National Football League for allegedly colluding to keep him from playing.

The 26-year-old rapper and singer born Belcalis Almnzar explained in an interview Friday that she felt obligated to “stand behind” Mr. Kaepernick because he “stood up” for minorities, The Associated Press reported.

“I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him,” said the Grammy Award-nominated artist.

Mr. Kaepernick, 31, kneeled during the playing of the national anthem at 49ers games in 2016 as a means of protesting against police brutality and racial injustice. His actions accordingly created a firestorm that provoked heated criticism from President Trump, among others, prior to parting ways with the 49ers in March 2017. No team has signed him since, and he’s alleged through his lawyers that the NFL has illegally colluded to keep him off the field.

Pop band Maroon 5 is slated to perform at Sunday’s game alongside rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi, albeit notwithstanding fellow artists opposing their involvement given the standoff between the NFL and Mr. Kaepernick.

“I call upon them to ‘take a knee’ on stage in full sight,” Pink Floyd co-founder urged the performers earlier this week. “I call upon them to do it in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, to do it for every child shot to death on these mean streets, to do it for every bereaved mother and father and brother and sister.”

Scott, born Jacques Berman Webster, previously said that he agreed to perform at Super Bowl LIII after the NFL agreed to donate to a social justice charity, Dream Corps.

“It took a lot of looking inward, it took a lot of introspection,” Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine told Entertainment Tonight this week about his decision to perform.

“I thought to myself, ‘What’s my greatest tool, what’s the thing that I can use to express myself and what’s the best way for the band to express themselves, and how are we going to do it this year? What do we owe ourselves? What do we owe the people?’ And that’s what we did.”

Ms. Almnzar, a former stripper who achieved fame as a social media celebrity prior to launching her music career, is nominated in five categories at next month’s annual Grammy Awards, including record of the year, album of the year and best rap performance.

Several entertainment outlets previously reported that Grammy-winning singer Rihanna turned down an offer to perform at Super Bowl LIII because of the rift involving Mr. Kaepernick.

Mark Geragos, a lawyer for Mr. Kaepernick, recently accused halftime show performers of “crossing an intellectual picket line.”

“They’re saying to themselves, ‘I care more about my career than whether what I’m doing is right,’” said Mr. Geragos.

Mr. Trump strongly criticized Mr. Kapernick’s protests and previously called him a “son of a bitch.”