Super Bowl 55 is set to kick off on February 7 2021 in Tampa. Although it’s uncertain if fans will be allowed to fill the stands due to the raging pandemic, the show must go on.
On Thursday 3-time Grammy Award winning artist The Weeknd announced that he will headline the Pepsi Half Time Show!
This is significant because there have only been two other Black men in Super Bowl history to have this honor.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 12, 2020
When it comes to the Big Game, the halftime show is just as big. But it wasn’t always that way.
From Super Bowl I in 1967 up until Super Bowl XXIV in 1990, halftime performances were done by college marching bands and drill teams.
The first major musical act to take the halftime stage was New Kids on the Block, who was booked as part of a special 25th Anniversary show in 1991.
You would think that a game that is dominated by Black male athletes would extend the world’s largest stage to Black male artists!
But that didn’t happen until 1993 when Michael Jackson and 3,500 volunteers of all ethnicities performed at the Rose Bowl Stadium for Super Bowl XXVVI.
It would be 14 years until the next Black male solo artist was offered the platform. And that artist was Prince!
But before we get to that, let’s take a look at some of the other men who were special guests featured during Halftime.
1999 Stevie Wonder with Gloria Estefan
2004 P. Diddy & Nelly with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
After the Nipplegate performance, the producers moved away from hip-hop and pop and opted for Classic Rock acts from 2005 – 2011
Thankfully Prince had recently been inducted to the Rock -N-Roll Hall of fame and in 2007, he came back to show these MF who’s Bad.
In 2021 The Weeknd will be the third Black male solo artist to headline the Super Bowl Half Time Show and the first to do so without the live reaction of tens of thousands fans in the stands. But don’t worry, he is sure to bring the Blinding Lights that make his live performances stand out from the rest.
Adam Harter, Pepsi’s Senior Vice President of sports, media and entertainment shared his high hopes for the show, saying that The Weeknd will set “set a new precedent both musically and visually for the most-watched performance of the year.”