At Super Bowl 2022, the NFL failed to tame Dr Dre for the cult halftime show

During the press conference leading up to the show last week, Snoop Dogg also acknowledged the rarity of the reunion: “We have the queen of R&B, we have the king of hip-hop, we have all of his proteges in the room. That’s what it’s about, he said, that’s what hip-hop and the NFL are meant to be: to represent, to change, to move forward. »

Yet even Jay-Z couldn’t iron out all the hardships when it came to dealing with the risk-averse NFL, which appears to have worked overtime to avoid controversy since the infamous guard malfunction. -dress during Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance in 2004. According to a media report puck, NFL officials micromanaged the presentation and a source close to Dr Dre said he felt « disgusted by the censorship ». Eminem was also told not to kneel onstage Colin Kaepernick-style, and one of Snoop Dogga’s planned outfits was flagged as « gang-related. »

It looks like the NFL was turned upside down though, and Eminem did a combination kneeling and Tebowing-style move, Snoop Dogg wore his blue bandana, and of course Dr Dre put the emphasis on the line of « Still DRE ». Traditionally, halftime show performers are unpaid, and in January, TMZ reported that Dr. Dre actually provided his own money to produce the show.

Playing some of the biggest hits of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was one of the first halftime shows to appeal to the childhood nostalgia of millennials. Although Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Eminem are all considered pop music elders, it’s hard to deny that the lineup was more retrospective than forward-looking. Even Kendrick Lamar, the youngest artist on the list, is a decade away from the album that represented his popular breakthrough, and nearly five years have passed since his last full album.

The evening began with the cover of « America the Beautiful » by Jhene Aiko and a rendition of the national anthem by the country music star Mickey Guyton, who hasn’t been shy about speaking out about her negative experiences in the music industry as a black woman. The theme of racial unity and honoring the contributions of black Americans also reigned throughout the evening.

Despite recent attention to racism behind the scenes in the league, rekindled most recently by a trial in which Brian Flores, the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, has alleged discrimination at the highest level, the NFL has remained silent on the controversy and offered subtle defenses of his record in public service announcements on « Inspire Change », his diversity efforts led by Jay-Z. Included were quotes from a 2017 Hall of Fame induction speech, in which LaDainian Tomlinson spoke about the legacy of slavery in his family and how football represented unity in his life. “Football is a microcosm of America,” he said in the spot. “All races, religions and creeds living, playing and competing side by side”. One of the most visible, if flimsy, moves the NFL has made to signal its support for its black athletes over the past two seasons is the stenciling of « END RACISM » on the end zones stadiums in the country, was also visible on Sunday evening.

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