— Photo from Creative Commons —
On Sunday, Feb. 12, after five years, Rihanna returned to the stage with her performance at the 57th Annual Super Bowl. State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, hosted the 57th Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
During the game’s halftime show, Rihanna performed a 13-minute, 12-song set packed with hits from throughout her career. The full set list is below:
- “B—- Better Have My Money”
- “Where Have You Been”
- “Only Girl (In The World)”
- “We Found Love”
- “Rude Boy”
- “Wild Thoughts”
- “Pour It Up”
- “All of the Lights”
- “Run This Town”
In an interview with Apple Music’s Nadeska Alexis a few days before her performance, Rihanna revealed that she created about 39 versions of her setlist throughout the planning of her performance. She stated, “The setlist was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest, hardest part, deciding how to maximize 13 minutes but also celebrate,” and “You’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes, so it’s difficult. Some songs we had to lose because of that, and that’s going to be okay, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down.” Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance was the first-time Apple Music served as the main sponsor for the halftime show. Pepsi had sponsored for the past decade.
During the performance, the Nine-time Grammy-winning artist donned a full red ensemble custom-made by luxury labels Loewe, Alaïa and Salomon. The outfit entailed a red breastplate and a cotton canvas flight suit designed by Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson. She wore a leather puffer scarf with integrated gloves in the first half of her performance. In the second half, she added a red leather maxi puffer coat. Alaïa Creative Director Pieter Mulier designed both her scarf and gloves. Tying the outfit together, she wore a red Salomon from their Maison Margiela’s collaboration.
The red leather maxi puffer coat paid homage to Rihanna’s friend, the late Fashion Icon André Leon Talley. Talley was a Durham, North Carolina native. He attended Hillside High School and North Carolina Central University. He went on to have an over fifty-year career as a Fashion journalist and was a former Vogue editor-at-large. André frequently donned a red Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat similar to the one Rihanna performed in.
Rihanna’s Talley tribute was not the only surprise at her performance. The world-renowned artist used the opportunity to announce that she and rapper A$AP Rocky were pregnant with baby #2. Throughout the performance, Rihanna caressed her stomach, a hint of her incoming bundle of joy. The news was later confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of Rihanna.
Rihanna’s halftime performance allowed for Black History to be made. Justina Miles, a Philadelphia native and current nursing student at HBCU Bowie State University, became the first female deaf performer for the Super Bowl’s halftime show. She made Super Bowl history earlier in the day when she became the first deaf person to perform an ASL rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly known as the Black national anthem. Videos of her performance have since gone viral as viewers praised her energetic and moving performance.
Despite Rihanna’s concert averaging 118.7 million viewers, Rihanna received no payment for her performance. In a 2016 interview with Forbes, NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter said: “We do not pay the artists. We cover expenses and production costs.” Rihanna instead used the opportunity to promote her beauty line, “Fenty Beauty.” During her performance, she pulled out her “Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Invisimatte Blotting Powder ” to touch up her face. Making her Super Bowl performance one for the books.