Last year, it was reported that Rihanna turned down an offer to headline the Super Bowl halftime show to support the NFL players who opted to kneel during the national anthem. (The athletes did this to peacefully protest police brutality in black communities.) This movement started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who eventually filed a grievance against the NFL. In a new interview with Vogue, Rihanna confirmed that she did, indeed, pass on the Super Bowl to stand with Kaepernick.
“I couldn’t dare do that,” she said. “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.”
Rihanna addressed other political topics in her Vogue interview, as well. When the writer brought up President Donald Trump, who urged the NFL to fire players who kneeled during the anthem, and his recent characterization of shootings in El Paso and Dayton as part of a “mental illness problem,” she didn’t hold back.
“People are being murdered by war weapons that they legally purchase,” she said. “This is just not normal. That should never, ever be normal. And the fact that it’s classified as something different because of the color of their skin? It’s a slap in the face. It’s completely racist…Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president.”
Rihanna also talked about her recent move to London and said that although she’s thousands of miles away, she doesn’t feel removed from the political climate in America: “When I see something happen to any woman, a woman of any minority, kids, black men being murdered in the streets—I can’t remove myself from that.
You can read the full interview here.