While this year’s Super Bowl was full of surprises, perhaps one of the biggest was Eminem kneeling down on one knee following his halftime show performance. While the simple move has a history of being controversial, the National Football League was apparently aware that it was coming.
According to the New York Times, the NFL was aware the 49-year-old rapper was going to take a knee after singing his hit song Lose Yourself because he did just that after each rehearsal in preparation for the gig. Although the halftime show was comprised of five of the biggest hip-hop artists – plus a surprise appearance from 50 Cent to make six – Eminem arguably made the biggest statement when he knelt down and put his hand to his head.
The NFL partnered with Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation in 2019, and the football league’s mission was to reportedly “amplify the league’s social justice efforts.” Prior to that, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick came under fire for taking a knee during a pre-game national anthem to protest and bring awareness to racial inequality. Now, many are speculating that Eminem’s taking a knee was, like Kaepernick, to bring awareness to social justice efforts.
But while Kaepernick was arguably penalized for taking a knee, Eminem was not, and a spokesperson representing the league stated on Sunday that NFL officials were well aware of the rapper’s plan because the league’s officials “watched it during rehearsals” prior to the actual performance.
As Radar recently reported, Eminem was one of the five scheduled artists to perform during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show. Besides the Venom rapper, who took a knee, the other performers included Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige.
During a recent interview, Blige revealed that the halftime show performers don’t get compensated for their acts.
“I mean, listen, you’re going to be paid for the rest of your life off of this,” the singer said after being asked about the lack of pay. “People are going to be knocking at your door. They don’t have to pay me…but if they were paying, it’d be a lot of money.”