Rihanna Explains How Motherhood Played Into Her Decision To Headline The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Rihanna during Apple Music interview before Super Bowl halftime show 2023
(Image credit: YouTube/Apple)

Rihanna has a lot going on right now. Not only is the singer this Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII headliner, in the matter of a year, she also became a mother for the first time and is among the 2023 Oscar nominations for Best Original Song for Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s “Lift Me Up.” Headlining the aforementioned halftime show is a huge honor but also comes with a significant amount of pressure. However, the singer explained that her new role as a parent played into her decision to say yes to the gig.

When Rihanna spoke about her massive performance at the Super Bowl, she told Entertainment Tonight how motherhood played into her decision to headline the culminating football game of the year. She also revealed that she initially questioned whether she was right for the job. As she shared: 

When I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, 'You sure?' Like, I'm three months postpartum, I don't know that I should be making major decisions right now.

One of the most badass badges of honor has to be growing a human inside them and giving birth. Rihanna and her partner, A$AP Rocky, welcomed their baby boy in May amid of all the other accomplishments the singer has going on for her, such as being the business owner behind the cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty and lingerie brand Savage X Fenty. Plus, she's been working on new music as of late. When also speaking about her decision to perform at the Super Bowl, the star said that her status as a mom provided her with a bit of encouragement:

When you become a mom, there's something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world, you could do anything. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. So, as scary as that was -- because I haven't been onstage in seven years -- there's something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. And it's important for me to do this this year. It's important for representation, it's important for my son to see that.

Super Bowl LVII

It must not have been an easy decision for the singer to take on the responsibility of headlining 2023’s Super Bowl Halftime show shortly after having a child, but she felt like she could “do anything” after becoming a mother. If anything, it sounds like she was totally game for another challenge, especially one that her son can look back on and be proud of. 

It’s been seven years since Rihanna has taken the stage but, over the course of her career Rihanna has certainly brought us a ton of iconic performances. That experience will come into her thirteen-minute set which the songstress describes as a “celebration” of her catalogue across 17 years. When speaking to narrowing down what she would sing, Rihanna admitted that the “hardest part” was deciding on the setlist for her, because she does have such a massive amount of great songs she could play. It's an embarrassment of riches, and it should amount to a truly entertaining show. 

Check out what Rihanna's performance during the Super Bowl LVII telecast, which starts tonight, Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.