On Sunday, September 25, 2022, international pop superstar and business mogul, Rihanna, 34, surprised her millions of fans around the world when she announced that she would be headlining next year’s Superbowl. This will be the first public performance by the singer since her Grammy performance back in 2018. Although fans seem to be excited about her return to the stage, the decision to headline isn’t without a little controversy. In 2019, during her interview with Vogue magazine, Rihanna unequivocally stated that she had turned down the NFL’s offer to perform during the halftime show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick (former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers) who claimed he was being blackballed from playing football due to his kneeling during the national anthem in protest against police brutality against black people, “I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
This year’s Superbowl event is in partnership with Apple Music, replacing long-time primary partner, Pepsi. Oliver Schusser, Vice President for Apple Music and Beats said, “We’re excited to partner with Rihanna, Roc Nation and the N.F.L. to bring music and sports fans a momentous show.” The Superbowl is scheduled to take place on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. Eight days before the pop icon’s 35th birthday. On May 19, reports confirmed that Rihanna had given birth to her first child, a boy with boyfriend ASAP Rocky.
Abron’s Hot Take
As a Rihanna fan, I’m super excited to see her return to what she has become well known for which is singing. I would imagine the hardest challenge she will have in preparing for this show is knowing which songs to perform as both her solo catalog as well as her feature songs have become some of the biggest hits in music history. How do you combine over a decade of music into a 15-minute show? I’m stressing out just thinking about it! But the main question I would ask Rihanna as I’m sure most journalists will should she decide to do any interviews leading up to the event is why now? What changed within her world that she now has agreed to do the halftime show after firmly standing against the idea after many offers? I don’t judge the decision, either way, I simply would just like to know why now?
If I were a betting man, I would say that it could have something to do with the fact that her boss and mentor, Shawn Carter – known well by his stage name, Jay Z, 52, has served as the NFL’s “live music and entertainment strategist,” for the past three years through his Roc Nation sports division. Rihanna is both signed and managed by Roc Nation. Since 2019, Jay Z has consulted on the Superbowl halftime show, influencing the acts of mostly black artists to show solidarity with the NFL and its Inspire Change activism campaign. I would imagine having him as part of this event made the decision a bit easier for Rihanna to say yes. This year’s Superbowl halftime show, made up mostly of the top names in hip hop was not only well received by audiences, but it won the Emmy award for both Outstanding Variety Special (Live) and Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special.
Jay Z signed Rihanna to her very first record deal under Def Jam records back in 2005 when he served as the labels President. He has since served as a mentor, friend, and music collaborator. One thing I can say for sure is regardless of how some people may feel about her decision to perform, whether they agree or not or have issues with the sudden about-face, or change of heart, the show will undoubtedly be watched by millions. Rihanna is a beloved superstar and has always been “unapologetic,” about who she is, and we love her for it.
In her recent interview spread with Elle magazine, supermodel, Gisele Bündchen, 42, shared her thoughts on her husband, NFL quarterback and seven-time Superbowl champion, Tom Brady’s career. In the article, she says, “Obviously, I have my concerns—this is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present,” she adds, “I have definitely had those conversations with him over and over again. But ultimately, I feel that everybody has to make a decision that works for [them]. He needs to follow his joy, too.” This interview, of course, was done prior to the start of the current football season when reports shared that Brady had missed eleven days of training camp, citing “personal reasons.” After announcing his decision to retire back in February of this year, Brady announced just two months later, that he would be unretiring and will play another season of professional football. At age 45, Brady is the oldest quarterback currently playing in the league.
Although Bündchen seemed understanding of her husband and wanted him to find his joy and do what makes him happy, the decision by Brady to return to the sport has caused a few problems within the marriage. Sources claim that “Tom and Gisele are in a fight right now.” Additional sources add, “There’s been trouble in the marriage over his decision to un-retire. Gisele has always been the one with the kids. They had agreed he would retire to focus on the family, then he changed his mind.” It has also been reported that Gisele has moved out of the family home the two share in Tampa, FL after numerous arguments over Brady’s decision to continue to play the sport she deems “violent.”
Bündchen was noticeably absent during Brady’s first game of the season opener; however, she shared her support for him on her Twitter page, tweeting, “Let’s go @TomBrady! Let’s go Bucs.” Brady plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gisele and Tom met in 2006 and married three years later in 2009. Together, they share two children, a son, Benjamin,13, and a daughter Vivian, 10. Gisele is also the stepmother to Brady’s oldest son, Jack, 15, from a previous relationship.
Abron’s Hot Take
So, there’s obviously a breakdown in communication within this marriage. From what I’ve read and seen, I can deduce that clearly, both Tom and Gisele have had many discussions regarding his retirement from playing football. Gisele is right when she labels the sport violent because it is. There are many players throughout the history of the sport who have suffered life-altering injuries. Football has a very short shelf-life. I’m also sensing that Tom’s decision to unretire was something he didn’t consult with Gisele about and instead, he made the choice on his own and told her later as an afterthought. Reneging on a promise you make to anyone, especially your spouse is extremely problematic, and Tom looks very selfish right now.
In an interview Tom gave to Howard Stern in 2020, he shared that a few years back, Gisele basically told him that she didn’t think he was doing his part in the family, “She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house. She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage. So, I needed to make a change in that. Her point was, ‘Well, yeah, of course, this works for you. It all works for you. But it doesn’t work for me.”
I understand loving something so much and being passionate about it that you never want to let it go. Especially if you’re really good at it. However, Tom has nothing left to prove. He has won many Superbowl championships, is the most recognizable face and name in the league and has been nicknamed the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Time) of quarterbacking and has cemented himself and left an indelible mark on the sport. At his age, he should be considering retirement and taking on one of those nice and cushy sports analyst jobs at ESPN. Why he wants to continue to be on the field, having younger, and stronger players slamming into him and risking possible concussions is lost on me. I’ll tell you one thing – it’s better to retire on your own rather than be forced to due to an injury that permanently removes you altogether. Personally, I think Tom is seeking another championship and ring considering the Buccaneers didn’t make it to the Superbowl this year. I think his ego plays a part in this as well.
We should also note that in that same interview Gisele did with Elle magazine, she also stated as it pertains to Tom and his career, “I’ve done my part, which is [to] be there for [Tom]. I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams. Seeing him succeed and being fulfilled in his career—it makes me happy.”
There’s a reason why marriage is only relegated to two people. With two differing personalities deciding to share their lives together, with all the complexities that come with it, there isn’t much room for anything else. One thing is clear – Tom seems to love his wife, but he is 'in love' with the game of football, and vacillating on which to choose is a battle he most likely won’t win. Either way, nobody wins. If he retires before he wants to, he will become bitter – perhaps even resentful towards Gisele for forcing his hand and if he continues to play, it will push Gisele further way – a process that has seemingly already started.
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