Hip-Hop front and center during Super Bowl LVI halftime show

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Last year I wrote that the Super Bowl in Raymond James stadium was probably one of the Blackest Super Bowl telecasts in NFL history. After the summer of 2020 and the racial injustices we suffered during the start of the pandemic, the NFL produced a show that would draw its Black sports fans back into the league. 

This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was for Inglewood, Los Angeles and hip hop fans everywhere. This halftime show was one of the best performances I’ve seen since Bruno Mars and Beyonce’s set in 2016. It’s not up to me to determine which one was the best of the two, but we all can agree that this was amazing to see.

We all saw the commercials before the Super Bowl directed by F. Gary Gray and the production of it drew fans in immediately. There were articles that questioned how this show would eventually turn out and even asked if it would meet hip hop fans expectations. 

There were a lot of people questioning how the league could ask the headliners to select one song from their stacked catalogs. As the show started, the tweets ramped up and fans shared how much they loved what they were watching. From inside of SoFi Stadium you could hear the screams and you could also see fans who didn’t know what was going on, but loved the vibe. 

The halftime show headliners were Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar with 50 cent as a special guest. Most fans watching the show missed the music video reference of 50 cent hanging from his set because they might not have been born yet. Mary J. Blige served us a stylish look with her beautiful blonde hair and thigh high boots. Kendrick Lamar told us “We Gone Be Alright” while Eminem allegedly defied the NFL’s wishes by taking a knee after his performance.

Eminem kneels down during the halftime performance at the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

It warmed my heart to see Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg back on stage together, but I’ll never forget how Dr. Dre has beaten women throughout his professional and personal life.

With Republicans stating how they’re losing interest in the NFL and how some of them oppose the Rooney rule, you can tell they weren’t the targeted audience for this halftime show. However, their might’ve children enjoyed the show because they’ve danced to these songs on TikTok or at least their friends have. This show was for a millennial like myself who is proud of her Blackness and the sound of our music. 

This halftime show was almost like the final stop of the Last Episode tour that featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg & Friends. Inglewood was the perfect host for the reunion, the party and all fans mattered. Hip-Hop has helped so many of us deal with our everyday struggles that we face here in America. Hip-Hop has given a voice to communities that are silenced for crying out for help. For those few moments, I forgot how much more work the National Football League has to do for minorities. 

Last year’s production and this year’s halftime show might inspire change, but how quickly will that happen? We shall see.

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