×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi to Perform at Super Bowl

UPDATED: It’s official: As Variety reported back in September, Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta on Feb. 3, and the group will be joined by rapper Travis Scott and former Outkast member Big Boi.

Today’s announcement follows months of controversy concerning the performance. Critics ranging from celebrities like Amy Schumer to organizations like the NAACP have taken issue with the halftime booking — partially because the big game is taking place in Atlanta, the capital of black music in the U.S., but largely because of the NFL’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been essentially drummed out of the league for kneeling during the National Anthem (a move many feel is based in racism) — and advocated for musicians to turn down the gig.

Performing at the Super Bowl now amounts to an endorsement of the NFL’s policies, and sources tell Variety that multiple artists of color — including Cardi B (who is featured on Maroon 5’s recent hit “Girls Like You”), Outkast, Mary J. Blige, Usher and Nicki Minaj — were considered or approached to perform with Maroon 5. It stands to reason that the announcement comes late in the football season schedule — Justin Timberlake, who performed at the 2018 Super Bowl, was announced on the preceding Oct. 23; Lady Gaga, the 2017 performer, was announced on the preceding Sept. 29 — because of negotiations dragging out. (Worth noting: the Pepsi-sponsored halftime performance is an unpaid gig.)

Maroon 5 now has two artists of color performing with them at the Super Bowl — one of them, Big Boi, an Atlanta native, although a large number of initial commenters on social media seemed unaware of who he is. Sources recently told Variety that Big Boi’s partner in Outkast, Andre 3000, was also in talks to perform — and an Outkast reunion, which last happened when the duo toured together in 2014, would have been a coup — but apparently declined.

Precisely 30 minutes before the official Super Bowl announcement was made, Scott issued a statement saying that in partnership with the NFL, he will donate $500,000 to Dream Corps, a nonprofit founded by CNN commentator Van Jones that, according to its mission statement, supports “economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators.” Scott nodded to the criticism he has received in a statement announcing the donation. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” he said. “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.”

Jay-Z, Meek Mill and the Reverend Al Sharpton were among the people who sources or reports said criticized or tried to convince Scott to decline the performance. But he, Maroon 5 and Big Boi are all affiliated with the Irving Azoff-helmed Full Stop Management, which apparently carried the day. While the group and the NFL were said to be seeking an Atlanta-based act and had spoken with the booming label and management company Quality Control, which is based in the city and also consults Cardi B, about assisting with the effort, the Texas-born Scott, whose “Astroworld” is one of the top albums of the year, is probably considered a sufficient coup.

Scott recently performed on a song with Migos rapper Quavo called “Huncho Jack” that references Kaepernick: “Take a knee like the ‘Niners (Kaepernick) /Join the team, don’t divide us (join them),” the line goes.

Other acts performing in town during the days leading up to the game include Cardi, Post Malone and Bruno Mars. In addition, local artists like Ludacris and Lil Jon will feature prominently at the Bud Light shows held on the weekend of the game.

More Music

  • Mac Miller Mural

    Mac Miller Honored With Memorial Mural: The Story Behind the Art

    Venice, California-based painter Gustavo Zermeno Jr. paid tribute to what would have been Mac Miller’s 27th birthday on January 19 with an 11-feet x 50-feet mural spread across Express Label, a custom printing and graphic design firm on Beverly Blvd., just east of N. Virgil Avenue in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Miller died [...]

  • Cardi B iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, Show,

    Cardi B's First Las Vegas Residency Confirmed for New KAOS Nightclub

    Variety has confirmed that Cardi B will be making money moves with her first Las Vegas residency this spring. Coming to KAOS, a new day and nightclub opening at the Palms Casino Resort the first weekend in April, Cardi joins a hip-hop and EDM-heavy lineup that will have G-Eazy, Above and Beyond, Kaskade and Skrillex taking [...]

  • Rapper, Songwriter BlocBoy JB Sues 'Fortnite'

    Rapper, Songwriter BlocBoy JB Sues 'Fortnite' Creator Over 'Shoot' Dance

    BlocBoy JB is joining the ranks of performers suing Epic Games for a dance move. In this case, James “BlocBoy JB” Baker filed suit against the “Fortnite” creator for the game’s use of his “shoot” dance, a dance move he created in his music video for “Shoot.” The dance move is called “hype” in the [...]

  • Ric Ocasek House

    Now Separated, Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova Seek Sale of Manhattan Townhouse

    Almost a year after top-earning 1980s supermodel Paulina Porizkova announced, via social media, that she and veteran New Wave rock star Ric Ocasek of the Cars had “peacefully” split up a year earlier, following almost three decades of marriage, the erstwhile couple’s Manhattan home, a handsome townhouse on a pretty, tree-lined block in the Gramercy [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Companion Album to

    Alfonso Cuarón's New 'Roma' Album to Feature Beck, Patti Smith, El-P, T Bone Burnett

    Not to be outdone by Ariana Grande’s impending record news, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón has announced the track list and release date for his new album, which, coincidentally, is also due Feb. 8. He’s the curator of “Music Inspired by the Film Roma,” which was already teased by a Billie Eilish track, and is now revealed [...]

  • cats logo

    As 'Cats' Starts Production, Downtown Lands Admin Deal for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music (EXCLUSIVE)

    Downtown Music Publishing has entered into a multi-year publishing administration deal with Faber Music, which represents the musical repertoire from “Cats,” the beloved and long-running Broadway sensation currently being turned into a feature film starring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Idris Elba and Judi Dench, among others. The Universal picture, directed by Tom Hooper, recently [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Beyond 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 2018 Was a Record Sync Year for Queen

    As “Bohemian Rhapsody” approaches a landmark $800 million at the global box office, another Queen milestone quietly took place in 2018. With appearances in nationwide campaigns for Amazon, Ram Trucks, Google, Peloton, Silk Almondmilk and many more, Queen’s music was licensed by more blue-chip brands than any other calendar year. And in the first few [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content