Moments before Rihanna spoke with members of the media to address her Super Bowl Halftime show, the legendary singer Babyface was asked which team he was going for in the big game. Instead of picking the Philadelphia Eagles or Kansas City Chiefs, Babyface, who will perform “America the Beautiful” on Sunday, confidently responded to the question by saying, “Rihanna.”
Indeed, in what will be the most important sporting event of the year, Rihanna continues to shine brighter than diamonds on the world’s biggest stage. Rihanna will perform at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Feb. 12, following history-making artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, and Beyoncé who all gave unforgettable Super Bowl performances.
During a Q & A session conducted by Apple Music’s Nadeska Alexis, Rihanna, whose net worth sky rocketed to $1 billion due to the success of her Fenty brand, shared thoughts on taking the stage for the first time since giving birth three months ago.
“It feels like it could have only been now,” Rihanna said. “I mean, when I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, ‘You sure? I’m three months postpartum. Should I be making major decisions like this right now? I might regret this.”
But after giving birth to a baby boy, Rihanna feels as if she’s ready to take on the challenge of returning to the stage.
“When you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you can take on the world,” she said. “You can do anything, and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world…So, as scary as that was… there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all, and it’s important for me to do this, this year. It’s important for representation. It’s important for my son to see that.”
Although returning to the stage took months of preparation, Rihanna’s next challenge was finding a way to compress her extensive catalogue down to a 13 minute set.
“That was the hardest, hardest part — deciding how to maximize 13 minutes but also celebrate,” she said. “That’s what this show is gonna be — it’s gonna be a celebration of my catalog in the best way that we could’ve put it together…You’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes, so it’s difficult. Some songs we have to lose because of that, and that’s gonna be okay, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down.”
During a normal concert, Rihanna would likely perform for two hours, giving fans an opportunity to follow her on a musical journey. But with the Super Bowl, she has to wow an audience of millions in under 15 minutes.
“The physical challenge has definitely been immense for many reasons, of course,” she said. “I haven’t done this in a minute. You’re just running around for 13 minutes, trying to put a 2-hour set in 13 minutes, and you’re gonna see on Sunday. From the time it starts, it just never ends until it’s the very last second… It’s a jam-packed show, and it takes a toll on your body, it really does.”
Rihanna, raised in Barbados, also wants to incorporate Caribbean culture into her set.
“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show — representation, representing for immigrants, representing for my country of Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere,” Rihanna said. “That’s really important. That’s key, for people to see the possibilities. And I’m honored to be here. I’m honored to be doing this, this year.”