Eminem hit the Super Bowl LVI Pepsi Halftime Show stage alongside Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige on Sunday night (February 13), the first time Hip Hop/R&B has been so heavily represented during The Big Game.
Right before Dr. Dre sat down to the white baby grand piano to rattle off a few notes from Tupac Shakur’s 1996 single “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” Slim Shady took a knee, honoring Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing fight for racial equality. Rumors the National Football League prohibited Slim Shady from performing the politically-charged gesture proved to be false, at least according to The New York Post.
— Michael Popove (@MichaelPopove) February 14, 2022
Shortly after an article from The Puck claimed the NFL warned the performers not to take a knee, journalist Ryan Glasspiegel dispelled the notion, explaining NFL reps said players have been taking knees since 2016 without sanctions, so musical talent wouldn’t be held to a different standard.
Albert Breer also confirmed no rules were broken per the NFL’s spokesperson Brian McCarthy. “Report was erroneous,” McCarthy told Breer. “We watched all elements of the show during numerous rehearsals this week.”
NFL's Brian McCarthy on the report that the league told Eminem not to kneel during the halftime show: “Report was erroneous. We watched all elements of the show during numerous rehearsals this week.”
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 14, 2022
Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige delivered an entertaining set custom-tailored for the West Coast that included low riders, Crip-walking, 50 Cent and over 400 professional dancers and volunteer cast participants.
The roughly 15-minute performance ended with “Still D.R.E.” and the controversial lyric, “still not loving police,” which The Puck suggested made the organizers “uncomfortable” as did Snoop Dogg’s blue rag sweatsuit that could possibly be perceived as “gang-related.” However, they reportedly decided not to censor either to avoid a “divisive cultural moment.”
Hip Hop fans were mostly united when it came to their opinions on Eminem’s gesture. Check out some of the reactions via Twitter below.
Eminem took a knee at the Super Bowl. Good. pic.twitter.com/mvI2qrRgbr
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 14, 2022
— (Philly4LiFe)North???️ (@philly215bull) February 14, 2022
— £0RĪ MÃRÏĘ ????????????? (@LorimarieWillis) February 14, 2022
— Eric Alper ? (@ThatEricAlper) February 14, 2022
BREAKING: Rap superstar Eminem takes a knee during his Super Bowl halftime performance in support of Black athletes like Colin Kaepernick protesting police brutality — even though the NFL demanded that he not do it. RT IF YOU SUPPORT EMINEM’S BRAVE STAND!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) February 14, 2022
— G. (@tonyaskit) February 14, 2022
— Max (@nordstrom_max) February 14, 2022
The moment he took a knee and Dre started playing Tupac’s intro it just hit home. Eminem’s respect for his peers and those before him is and has always been beautiful #PepsiHalftime pic.twitter.com/zOXp7Z0Ok2
— Jongho Jiddies Met ATEEZ?☠️ (@JonghoJiddies) February 14, 2022
Eminem takes a knee.? pic.twitter.com/3qasD6Mfss
— Lisa Richardson MD (@RicharLisa) February 14, 2022
— Benji (@Cule_Ben) February 14, 2022
This is it. Right here. Eminem takes a knee as Dr. Dre plays Tupac’s I ain’t mad at cha on the piano. Here’s when I lost it pic.twitter.com/uDIaSYJJB8
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) February 14, 2022