NFL’s Angela Ellis Shares Thoughts On Rihanna’s Halftime Show, Social Justice Initiatives, And Super Bowl Sunday

During Super Bowl week, Angela Ellis, VP of Entertainment & Initiatives at NFL Media, helped ensure that the NFL’s social justice initiatives and live entertainment content was as impactful as the big game on the field. 

The screening of the powerful documentary “The Indelible Legacy of Jimmy Raye,” and the highly-anticipated interview with halftime show artist Rihanna are a few projects that Ellis helped to launch in Phoenix during Super Bowl week. 

ADW recently spoke with Ellis who provided insight on how Rihanna’s performance came about and shares keys to her success.

How excited are you before we get into it? What did it take to get someone at that magnitude to the Super Bowl?

I am extremely excited. This is actually my second Super Bowl. I started with the league in July of 2021. So it’s great to have Rihanna be a part of this Super Bowl. The NFL partners with Roc Nation on our halftime show and we work with them to book the artists. We are so thrilled to have her this year because it’s been a long time in the making. It’s going to be an epic one.

How do you make sure that the entertainment off the field is on par with the entertainment on the field during Super Bowl week?

There are a lot of people who work on that. And again, it goes back to our partnership with Roc Nation. That was a big goal to be able to have them be a resource and kind of help guide us into this new era. And we saw that last year of course with the first hip-hop themed halftime show. It’s good to continue to have their support and their guidance. That helps us as a team to make sure that we keep expanding our audience and our relevance. Personally, I oversee the work on the content side when it comes to amplifying our entertainment and social impact work. We also recently created a new role in the department called Head of Music, managing anything that has to do with music in the NFL. As a league, as department staff, myself and others talk often about the need to keep bringing diverse voices out and I’ve been a long proponent of that as well.

What advice do you have for aspiring young women who see your work and would like to choose a similar path?

I go by the four H’s which is hard work, humility, honesty, and humor. I think with those things, if you have them all balanced out, you will do the work and you’re willing to get in there and really get it in on the ground floor and learn as much as you can on the way up. I think there’s a tendency for people to want to just hop right in and do the flashy part. You need to learn it all to do it all. You have to have the humility to know when you don’t know something and when it’s okay to say ‘no, I don’t know that.’ Honesty goes back to just being honest with yourself and with others. Giving constructive feedback and receiving constructive feedback. And then the humor is to have fun while you’re doing it. That’s my main thing, take up space. When people ask me the question, ‘What’s it like having a seat at the table as a Black woman?’ I flip those questions around. ‘What’s it like for them to have me at the table?’ Understand that you are an asset.

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