In the past, halftime performers including Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry have held a press conference prior to the event. Instead, the NFL announced Tuesday a social media rollout of exclusive footage of each of the halftime performers, including guest appearances by Travis Scott and Big Boi.
“Maroon 5 has been working hard on a Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show that will meet and exceed standards of this event. As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday,” the NFL said in a statement obtained by Variety. “Starting with the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show announcement, we began a cross-platform rollout of behind-the-scenes footage and content from each of the halftime performers. Instead of hosting a press conference, this social and digital media rollout will continue through Sunday across our owned and operated media assets as well as through the platforms of the artists.”
Maroon 5 has come under fire in recent weeks, having been the first to accept the halftime slot after several artists, reportedly including Rihanna, turned it down in protest of the NFL’s treatment of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The band announced Tuesday their plans to donate $500,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of the performance, following a similar move made by fellow halftime performer Scott.
After entreaties by Jay-Z to step down from the show in support of Kaepernick, Scott opted to instead partner with the NFL for a $500,000 donation to Dream Corps, an organization that advocates for social justice and prison reform. Now, Maroon 5 is following Scott’s lead, partnering both with the NFL and their label Interscope Records to make the donation.
“Playing the Super Bowl has been a dream of our band for a long time,” Adam Levine told People magazine Tuesday. “We thank the NFL for the opportunity and also to them, along with Interscope Records, for making this donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will have a major impact for children across the country.”
The once coveted Super Bowl halftime slot has been surrounded by controversy in recent months, following Kaepernick’s accusation that the NFL purposely shut him out after he famously refused to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. Now, the performance has become somewhat of a hot potato among stars on the level of the halftime show’s usual grandeur. Following the example of Rihanna, Cardi B reportedly declined the offer Scott took to appear alongside Maroon 5.
“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott said in a statement about the donation on Jan. 13. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”