Following a controversy-filled Super Bowl halftime performance — although the performance itself worked hard to be uncontroversial — Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine posted a note on Instagram sharing his thoughts on the occasion. (Read Variety’s review of the performance here.)
Along with a photo showing the “One Love” light display that took place during the set, Levine wrote, “When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote. Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love.”
The words that followed were: forgive, laugh, cry, smile, share, live, endure, embrace, remember, enlighten, preserve, inspire, sweat, fight, express, give, receive, elevate, climb, unify, fortify, soften, dance, scream, dream, educate, provide, inhale, exhale, persevere, stand, knee, overcome, love, listen.
With the 14-minute long performance, months of will-they-or-won’t-they speculation was put to rest once performers Maroon 5, along with guests Travis Scott and Big Boi took the field. The band’s participation in the show had come under fire in recent weeks because performing during the game — which is the biggest global stage for a musician, with an estimated 100 million viewers — is effectively an endorsement of the National Football League’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The league’s stance toward the athlete, who has not played professionally since his controversial stance to “take a knee” during the National Anthem before games, has polarized audiences and significantly complicated this year’s halftime performance, among many other issues. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight last week, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine said the band “expected” the backlash.
To counter criticism, Scott announced that in partnership with the NFL, he will make a $500,000 donation to the non-profit organization Dream Corps, among “other initiatives that he will work with the League on.” Maroon 5 also pledged the same amount to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.