The official announcements aren’t expected until later in the NFL season, but Variety magazine spilled the beans this week, throwing football fans, including Atlanta-based rapper Waka Flocka Flame, into quite the frenzy.
“They need somebody from Atlanta, it's only right,” he told TMZ Sports on Thursday. “You're coming to the biggest black state in America. Why wouldn't you let a black artist perform and show the world that we're progressing? That's not cool.”
Folks across social media echoed his sentiments, some even offering up lists of iconic Atlanta artists the league could have picked instead.
Even the Ludameister aka Ludacris chimed in with a little shade of his own.
And it’s true, Atlanta is indeed the birthplace of legendary artists and groups, including Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, Gucci Mane, Childish Gambino, Migos — the list goes on.
But, as Billboard.com pointed out after the Variety reveal, there are some reasons why the NFL’s decision to pick Maroon 5 makes a bit of sense. There’s the fact that the band has several smash hits to its name, a celebrity frontliner Adam Levine leading the gig and plenty of songs featuring famous names like Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar and SZA.
Waka Flocka Flame told TMZ he believes the league’s views on the Colin Kaepernick-led movement to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality may have influenced the halftime show decision.
And again, he wasn’t alone in feeling that.
“I’m confused at the surprise over Maroon 5,” Twitter user @_AWat_ said. “Colin K is still out. Why would the NFL be fumbling around getting rejected by major hip hop acts that want to take a stand like Jay did last year?” referring to Jay-Z’s refusal to perform at last year’s Super Bowl in Minnesota. There was speculation that the rapper said no to the league as a way to show support for Kaepernick.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that entertainment surrounding and leading up to the Feb. 3 game won’t be unveiled until late September or early October, with an official halftime show notice in November. In response to the speculation, a spokesman for the Pepsi Halftime Show told the AJC “we do not have any announcements to make on what will be another epic show.”
Super Bowl LIII will be held on Feb. 3, 2019, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
This will be Atlanta’s third Super Bowl after the Georgia Dome hosted Super Bowl XXVIII on Jan. 30, 1994 (Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills) and Super Bowl XXXIV on Jan. 30, 2000 (St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans.)
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