The morning after
The predominantly white drumline that took the stage during Maroon 5's halftime performance of "Girls Like You" last night? Yeah, we're still talking about it. Considering the big game's host city was Atlanta, home to some of the country's top historically black colleges and universities, and the fact that African-American marching bands have long played a significant role in HBCU culture, what gives? Viewers remain perplexed.
Also still on everyone’s minds, for better or worse: Shirtless Maroon 5 frontrunner Adam Levine.
Fans have been questioning why the bare-chested singer could strip off his top without consequence, but Janet Jackson’s infamous halftime show malfunction that left her bare breast exposed back in 2004 was highly criticized. Jackson had to issue an apology after the mayhem.
Alright, folks. The game may be over, but the hoopla continues. Here’s what we’re buzzing about this morning.
Regarding Big Boi’s fur coat, PETA (and other animal rights activists) are not happy.
That’s not to say the star’s coat didn’t have its share of fans, though.
The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl 53 Sunday. So, it’s time for all these crowds to leave Atlanta, right? Some locals think so...
In all seriousness, a big congrats to the Patriots. Here are five things we learned from their big win.
People can’t get over the Super Bowl’s predominantly white drumline that took the stage during Maroon 5’s halftime performance of “Girls Like You” considering the big game’s host city is Atlanta, home to some of the country’s top historically black colleges and universities. African-American marching bands have long played a significant role in HBCU culture.
Did you catch that New England Patriots touchdown from former Georgia Bulldog Sony Michel? He’s getting some major, albeit conflicting love from Georgia fans tonight. (Score: Patriots 10, Rams 3)
More ad buzz: Toni Harris wants to become the NFL's first-ever female player. Sunday's new, powerful Toyota commercial spotlighted the 22-year-old East Los Angeles College Huskies defensive back, one of few women to ever play college ball. The trailblazer just won over some new fans.
What did social media think of Maroon 5’s halftime performance? Well...
He came. He conquered momentarily. Now where did Big Boi go? The Outkast star wore his fur coat and ATL love loud and proud tonight.
Maroon 5 ended its first two jams with a tribute to the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, Stephen Hillenburg, before Scott came out for the highly anticipated “Sicko Mode.”
According to CBS Sports, the Spongebob song "entered popular culture when it aired during a 2001 episode of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' in which some of the show's characters performed at halftime of The Bubble Bowl, a championship football game intended to mimic the Super Bowl. That episode (and the song) have become iconic in the years since."
But...some folks wanted more sponge.
The first half is officially over. Score: Patriots 3, Rams 0 and Maroon 5. Sorry. But in all seriousness—we’re ready for halftime show. Remember, you’ll be catching Maroon 5, Outkast’s Big Boi and Travis Scott...and maybe some surprise performers?
Here’s what people are anticipating (or hoping for):
Only a few minutes left in the first half and the Super Bowl commercials are in full swing. What’s wow-ing viewers at home? Well, let’s start with The Twilight Zone promo featuring Jordan Peele.
Keep an eye out for Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, the league's very first male cheerleaders. Learn more about the spirit squad here. Folks are lovin' it.
As civil rights icons King, Lewis and Young took the field before kickoff, reactions online were mixed. Some were inspired (see previous update). Others felt the leaders were used by the NFL as "props."
The league still hasn’t rehired former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began a protest movement against police brutality toward black men in 2016 by kneeling during the anthem.
King tweeted following the toss as well, calling for “bridge builders, strategic negotiators and ambassadors.”
Bernice King, Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Young on the field after a moving tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Daughter Bernice handles the coin toss, and Twitter goes wild.
Georgia’s very own Gladys Knight takes it home with a powerful performance as F-16 Fighting Falcons fly above. We can’t believe she’s 74, either.
Atlanta natives Chloe x Halle belt out “America the Beautiful” on the field and stun the crowd (and viewers everywhere, apparently).
Georgia native Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem in minutes and just as she hits the “r” in “brave,” the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over the open roof of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The F-16 Fighting Falcons have taken off from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
Director Ava DuVernay wants nothing to do with Super Bowl 53. The California native who filmed “Selma” right here in Atlanta took to Twitter to share her thoughts—and an #ImWithKap hashtag gains traction less than two hours before kickoff.
Common, Nick Cannon and others have also tweeted in support of Kaepernick ahead of the game.
In non-Super Bowl Atlanta celebrity news you won't be able to get away from if you're online today: Rapper 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement early Sunday morning over claims he's actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa.
The buzz so far:
Despite a Change.org petition (with more than 115,000 signatures) urging halftime act Maroon 5 to drop out, the pop band's show will go on. People had a lot of feelings about the headliners, with some calling for more Atlanta-based icons to showcase the city's rich musical history. Waka Flocka Flame told TMZ he believes the NFL's views on the Colin Kaepernick-led movement to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality may have influenced the choice. He wasn't alone. Maroon 5 frontrunner Adam Levine said the band expected backlash over the gig, which artists Cardi B and Rihanna both turned down in support of Kaepernick. Outkast's Big Boi and Travis Scott will be performing during the Super Bowl 53 halftime show in addition to Maroon 5.
Georgia’s own Gladys Knight, who will be performing the national anthem before the game, also faced backlash for agreeing to sing.
"I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life," Knight told Variety Magazine.
» RELATED: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters urges Maroon 5 to take a knee during halftime show
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier Thursday (after cancelling the pre-Super Bowl press conference), Levine was asked if he had a message for anyone who feels unheard over overlooked. "They will be [heard]. That's all I want to say because I don't want to spoil anything... I like to think that people know where I stand as a human being after two decades of doing this. So, what I would say is, you know, we are going to keep on doing what we do, hopefully without becoming politicians to make people understand, 'We got you.'"
The band, along with Scott, won’t be getting paid for the show. Instead, they’ve donated $500,000 to charity.
» RELATED: Maroon 5, NFL give $500K to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of Atlanta Super Bowl
But "no matter what songs they play or how well they perform, the band's Super Bowl halftime show will forever carry a specific context for a certain population," Billboard's Jason Lipshutz wrote. "Any future political gesture, or attempt to re-brand as "woke," will be met with at least some eye-rolls, and accusations of being the headliner that crossed the halftime picket line when others would not. For some, the biggest performance of Maroon 5's career will always carry an asterisk."
Here’s what folks are saying on Twitter about the upcoming halftime show:
More buzz-worthy coverage:
The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. inside Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium. The live showdown between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams airs on CBS.