Super Bowl LVI – between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals – is set to kick off imminently at SoFi Stadium in LA, with a much-hyped half-time show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige. A new report, however, claims the NFL has denied some of the artists’ requests for the big day in an attempt to maintain control over its image.
According to Puck‘s Eriq Gardner, the league is refusing to allow Eminem to take a knee – in solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the anthem throughout the 2016 season to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Em has previously shown solidarity with Kaepernick. “This is for Colin, ball up a fist! / And keep that shit balled like Donald the bitch,” he rapped in 2017, during a politically-charged cypher for the BET Hip-Hop Awards. A spokesperson has since denied the NFL tried to stop Em from taking a knee, telling the New York Times they were aware it would happen ahead of time.
Gardner also reported that a source close to Dr. Dre claims the rapper is being “disgustingly censored”, with NFL representatives reportedly uncomfortable with his iconic 1999 ‘Still D.R.E.’ lyric “still not loving police.” Organisers have also reportedly flagged clothing Snoop Dogg was set to wear as possibly appearing gang-related. The league has reportedly taken these steps in an effort to avoid today’s game “turn[ing] into a divisive culture war moment.”
The Super Bowl is set to begin at 10:30am AEDT, with the half-time show scheduled to kick off at midday. Dre – who has reportedly sunk some $7 million of his own money into production of this year’s show – has previously commented that the collaborative performance will “introduce the next saga of [his] career.” The performance also comes days after Snoop released latest album BODR, and new music from Lamar has also been rumoured to arrive in tandem.