Janae Pierre: Hey y'all, it's The Takeaway. I'm Janae Pierre, in for Melissa Harris-Perry.
Super Bowl 57 kicks off on Sunday, and sure, we’re all a little excited about the game, the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, but a lot of people, including myself, will be tuning in just for the halftime show, and the highly-anticipated “Rih-turn” of Rihanna
This is RiRi’s first public performance since the 2018 Grammys, and she had previously rejected doing the Super Bowl halftime show in 2019 in solidarity for Colin Kaepernick. I spoke to a fellow member of Rihanna's Navy to get some insights into the show and hype us up for the big game.
Stephanie Holland: My name is Stephanie Holland. I'm a staff writer at The Root.
Janae Pierre: First question, how excited are you not only for the Super Bowl but for the halftime show?
Stephanie Holland: Well, my family, we are all about the football. We are very excited about the game, but I'm probably a little more excited to see Rihanna.
Janae Pierre: Same, agreed upon. You have people cheering for Philly, you have people cheering for Kansas City, I'm cheering for RiRi.
Stephanie Holland: Well, I've heard a few people online calling it a Rihanna concert that just happens to have a football game around it.
Janae Pierre: [laughs] Let's talk about that a bit more. What else are you hearing from fans? Also, I'm wondering, will Rihanna release new music after this Super Bowl or announce a new album, what have you heard?
Stephanie Holland: Well, Rihanna is so mysterious. She does what she wants when she wants. She's one of those artists who you never truly know what she's going to be up to until it actually happens. Until the music actually drops, we just really have no idea. She could tell us there's new music coming, and you still wouldn't really know until you actually heard the new music.
The thing about this is that the Super Bowl performance is coming right before she is nominated at the Oscars, so that has caused a lot of fans to wonder if sometime, between those two big events, there might be new music or if right after the Oscars we might get new music. She's been very cagey on the idea of new music coming out anytime soon. I think, at the game, we're going to get a really amazing greatest hits medley, but I don't know that we're getting any new music.
Janae Pierre: Any idea? I'm wondering who do you think will join Rihanna on stage?
Stephanie Holland: Well, Jay-Z and Roc Nation are executive producing the show so a lot of people have wondered if we might get an appearance from Jay and then, of course, her boyfriend, her partner ASAP Rocky. They have a song together, he could show up. You just never really know because the Super Bowl is such a big event, it could be somebody who we're not even expecting so that's sort of the excitement of it all, and then we haven't seen Rihanna perform live in so long, she could come out with a new look or something that just completely stuns us.
Janae Pierre: All right, so you called out some big names. You said Jay-Z, you mentioned ASAP Rocky, is it too much for me to want Drake on the stage as well? They have a lot of good songs together.
Stephanie Holland: It seems like maybe that relationship might be a little bit over. Again, you never can tell and the Super Bowl is a big event, but if I just had to take a wild guess, I would not expect to see Drake.
Janae Pierre: It's a no.
Stephanie Holland: That's just my guess.
Janae Pierre: Now, although we are both obviously very excited to see Rihanna at the Super Bowl, I'm wondering how fans are reacting to her deciding to do the Super Bowl halftime show after rejecting the show back in 2019.
Stephanie Holland: She was previously offered an opportunity to do the show, but she rejected the NFL based on its treatment of Colin Kaepernick following his protest where he kneeled during the national anthem. I would have to guess that the difference this time around would be the involvement of Jay-Z and Roc Nation, who are also her management company, and so I would think they were the ones who got her to say yes.
Janae Pierre: This is also a historic Super Bowl because it will be the first time there have been two starting Black quarterbacks in the big game. Has the NFL recognized this significant moment?
Stephanie Holland: It's been a big story. Obviously, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts have talked about it extensively. They've both handled the moment beautifully, recognizing the history and also acknowledging the Black quarterbacks who've come before them and paved the way for them. The NFL does still have a problem with race on its hands, so I can't really speak to how the NFL is handling it, but I can say that the quarterbacks are handling it appropriately. They're really doing great with this big moment.
Janae Pierre: What are you seeing from each of them, both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts?
Stephanie Holland: Well, they're both just generationally talented quarterbacks, the things they do on the field. I like to compare Patrick Mahomes to watching Steph Curry on a basketball court because he plays in a way that's so entertaining and two you're just like, "Nobody else could do the things that he can do, it's just ridiculous." Then on the other side of the field, you have Jalen Hurts.
He is just such a problem for defenses because you can come out and you can have a plan and you can go through all the possible options of what he's going to do, and then the play starts and he does something that you were completely unprepared for and had no idea that was going to happen. It'll be really great to see how the teams prepare for these two young men because they're both so exceptionally gifted.
Janae Pierre: Yes. It's going to be exciting watching both of them. Okay, Stephanie, stay right there. Quick halftime break of our own here, then we're right back with more Takeaway.
We're back, the second half. We're talking with Stephanie Holland from The Root, and we're talking about the Super Bowl this weekend. Another first in the Super Bowl will be the Kelce Bowls being the first brothers to face each other in the Super Bowl, right?
Stephanie Holland: Yes, it's a really big deal for their family. Travis Kelce plays for Kansas City, Jason Kelsey plays for Philadelphia. In previous interviews, Travis has expressed how huge this moment is for their family and how excited everyone is. Also, between the two brothers, it's just another competition for them to get at each other. As I understand it, Travis has won their previous meetings, but of course, they've never met in the Super Bowl before, and I imagine that adds an extra level of emotion and bragging rights after the fact, because that's how it is between siblings, you always want to have that one up on each other.
Janae Pierre: Yes, I was wondering, Stephanie, do you have any insight into their relationship as brothers?
Stephanie Holland: Well, they're very close. I did hear Travis say in one of his interviews during the Monday night press conference that Jason has been the one winning a lot of their competitions throughout their life, so this is really his opportunity to get one back on his brother, so they're very close and it's all going to be great. I'm guessing until they get on the field and they get in their football mode, obviously, then it goes out the door a little bit because they both want to win the Super Bowl.
I can't imagine how amazing this moment really must be for them, to number one, have both just made it to the NFL, to the point where they do get to play against one another regularly but then to add on that extra level that now we're playing against one another in the Super Bowl. That's the kind of thing you dream about when you're kids playing in the front lawn, but you don't know that it's ever really going to come true.
Janae Pierre: Of course, it's not a Super Bowl without commercials, so what sneak peeks have you gotten a look at and what can we expect on Sunday?
Stephanie Holland: Well, some of the interesting ones that have already come out are Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, they return to their Breaking Bad roles for PopCorners. Alicia Silverstone gets back to her clueless roots for an ad for Rakuten, which was a lot of fun, and then also one that is being teased is John Travolta tributing Olivia Newton-John in a grease-themed ad, which should also be really nice and also probably emotional.
Janae Pierre: Yes, certainly. Tell me quickly about a few of the movie trailers that we're expected to see.
Stephanie Holland: Well, you never really know until game day with the movie trailers but one that seems to be confirmed is the 10th movie in the Fast and Furious franchise, fast X. Now they say it's the last one.
Janae Pierre: We don't know that for sure.
Stephanie Holland: I don't know that I believe that because that franchise is made almost $2 billion. I find it hard to believe this is got to be the last one, [laughs] but that's one that everybody's anticipating, something a lot of people are talking about is with the Philadelphia Eagles in the game. We definitely need to see a Creed III trailer or at least a new one because we've seen some footage already, so there might be a new one with Philadelphia being in the game. Then, of course, Marvel Studios has Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania coming out, pretty much right after the game, the week after the game, so we could expect to see maybe a little more footage from that film.
Janae Pierre: Stephanie Holland is a staff writer for The Root. Stephanie, thanks for joining us.
Stephanie Holland: Thank you for having me.
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