It wasn’t hyperbolic when I posted yesterday about the Rihanna concert that’s happening on Sunday. Securing her appearance has already been a huge win for the NFL, Apple Music, and betting sites as prop bets related to her performance are wildly popular, ranging from first and last song, how many songs she’ll get through, which songs will be featured, which guests will join, what her hair colour will be, what her costume colour will be, whether or not she’ll wear sunglasses… basically any detail imaginable, somehow people have found a way to put money on it.
In her press conference yesterday, Rihanna confirmed that the performance will run 13 minutes and that it’s a celebration of her catalogue. And that’s been a monumental challenge because, well, her catalogue is crazy good. Which is why, according to her, there have been 39 changes to the setlist so far.
She also spoke about what this moment means to her:
"Representing for immigrants, representing for my country, Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere. That's really important, that's key for people to see the possibilities. And I'm honored to be here, and I'm honored to be doing this, this year."
That was the theme of the new ad that was released this week, filmed in Barbados, featuring a little girl from the neighbourhood, full of swagger, claiming the whole road.
This commercial is so GOOD!— Jasmyn (@JasmynBeKnowing) February 9, 2023
Rihanna deserves this MOMENT!! https://t.co/B5VRBumELT
Rihanna has always brought it back home, especially as she’s about to take her biggest stage.
But let’s talk about the song choice here. Because technically “Run This Town” is a Jay-Z song, off his album The Blueprint 3. Rihanna was always supposed to be featured on it, and later on Jay felt the track would be even stronger with Ye being part of it.
A lot of people think Jay just might show up on Sunday during RiRi’s set, especially if “Umbrella” is part of the setlist. Perhaps using “Run This Town” in a promo is a way for Rihanna to somehow include that song as part of her Super Bowl experience without having to fit it into the live performance? That would take care of the Kanye issue and reserve Jay for “Umbrella”. The audience would f-cking lose once they hear him bring it in with “no clouds in my stones”…
I think for sure Tems will be there. Especially since “Lift Me Up” was Rihanna’s most recent release and the song fits with the overall theme of what she said her purpose was for the performance. Also, it works as an Oscar campaign strategy, because it’s nominated for Best Original Song and we’re heading into the Oscar voting period.
But … ummmm…what about Drake? Can she celebrate her catalogue without “Work”? I mean, she can totally do her own parts on “Work” without him, but that is a big question mark considering they’ve kept their distance now for a few years. Some people have noted that Drake was absent from the sidelines for LeBron James’s record-breaking game earlier this week and instead sent a video message using a green screen, increasing speculation that he couldn’t divulge his whereabouts because he’s in Arizona. I’m not convinced. And I don’t know if I want to be convinced – because that shouldn’t be part of the conversation. Rihanna’s Halftime Show is the Rihanna Halftime Show. Nobody needs to be talking about Drake.
But we’re not the only ones obsessed with what exactly Rihanna will bring on Sunday. Lizzo and SZA were on IG Live yesterday trying to guess – other major recording artists are as into as everyone else:
lizzo and sza discussing rihanna and the superbowl setlist. pic.twitter.com/9PkHK9BA4l— sabrina ãƒŸâ˜† (@legendarihhhh) February 10, 2023
As SZA mentioned, it’s not just the music either. It’s the styling, it’s the makeup, it’s the fact that Rihanna is more than music, she’s a whole f-cking enterprise and, sure, it’s possible that the stage will also be a runway, a fashion show, a showcase of all that she does for the culture. Because it’s not like she hasn’t directed her businesses to capitalise on the moment. Did you see this Fenty TikTok? It’s marketing genius. GENIUS.
ThatÂ #FENTYGAMEFACEÂ never fumbles! ðŸ’¯ðŸˆ Start the play with a layer ofÂ #HYDRAVIZORÂ to tackle any SPF worries ðŸŒž Then, touchdown onÂ #PROFILTRFOUNDATIONÂ for that fresh AF, soft matte flex ðŸ’ªðŸ¿ðŸ’ªðŸ¾ðŸ’ªðŸ½ #GAMEDAYÂ is just 6 days away, so re-up on the essentials now to prep for the big day at the ðŸ”— in bio,Â @sephora,Â @sephoracanada, and #sephoraxkohlsÂ ðŸ†â™¬ original sound - Fenty Beauty
Come ON. That is too good.
If the production value on the pre-show is this good, the actual show is going to be… well it’s the only reason I’m turning on the television on Sunday. Turning it on with five minutes left in the second quarter and then once her fireworks are done I’m rewinding to watch eight more times.
Rihanna. Sunday. What else is there?