Why the hip-hop-centric Super Bowl halftime show gave some people vapors


“The NFL is now the league of sexual anarchy”, Kirk tweeted. “This halftime show shouldn’t be allowed on TV.”

Kirk, of course, had become associated with a different kind of anarchy in January 2021, when his group sent “over 80 busloads of patriots to DC to fight for this president.” Two days after posting that since-deleted Tweet, many of these “patriots” stormed the US Capitol, as Trump supporters sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Following his marmish complaint of “sexual anarchy”, Kirk was roundly mocked.

“I’m sorry you had to see a few black rappers tonight,” one reader replied.

“Bro, the only thing that doesn’t trigger you is white bread and milk,” added another.

Given the G-rated nature of Blige’s gyrations, Kirk seemed to direct his puritanical shading towards 50 Cent, who took over his 2003 Clip “In Da Club” – which now has more than 1.3 billion views – by first appearing upside down, as if suspended by his knees from a trapeze.

If the dancers around the rapper were certainly athletic and uninhibited, they were more covered and less suggestive than that. risky segment of Hee Haw, or the topless ungulates in a certain Disney classic.

“All of these people were fussing over making (the show) gendered — it was actually incredibly clean,” said Robert Thompson, an administrator professor of television and popular culture at the SI Newhouse School of Public Communication. Syracuse University.

Brigitte Gabriel had a diametrically opposed, even unbalanced point of view. “The Super Bowl halftime show was basically pornography on tvtweeted the Trump sidekick, who spoke on behalf of a segment of conservatives of which Thompson said, “We didn’t have to watch the same show.

Indeed, you could see a lot more skin at the ballet, or in a public swimming pool, or in any backyard cheerleading routine, raising the possibility that what bothered some critics wasn’t so much the surface of exposed skin than the color of that skin.

Such near-hysteria is known to plague people “who freak out over strong black women who are comfortable with their sexuality,” said Michael Silver, a former Press Democrat journalist and sports columnist who later worked for Sports Illustrated. and the NFL. Network, among other outlets.

Originally from Los Angeles and an early fan of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, both of nearby Compton, Silver often incorporated hip-hop lyrics into his football stories, much to the dismay and confusion of his friends. IS editors.

Some of those lines were “fun analogies to pop culture,” he recalls. “But often it was part of the scene. Like we were riding in a car blowing up Tupac, and (longtime NFL receiver) Andre Rison would talk about the parallels between his life and Tupac’s.

Rison and countless others are passionate about hip-hop, not in spite of its grit and violence, but because those elements are so true to their lived experience.

It’s a fact, agreed Donny Buddz, a gifted rapper and music producer from the city of Sonoma, that some hip-hop lyrics seem to glorify violence and misogyny. Condemning the genre as a whole, however, is an exercise in selective outrage.

“If you’re going to be upset by those lyrics,” he said, “you should be outraged by Quentin Tarantino movies as well. Because they can be pretty nasty, right?”

white grievance

Sean Spicer reserves the right to be outraged. The first of Trump’s four publicists and the only one, so far, to appear on Dancing With The Stars, has expressed his discomfort while tweeting, “Dear @NFL / @pepsi. What was the message of the #HalfTimeShow?

“You wore ruffles and danced on TV,” one woman rejoined. “What was your message? »

Spicer’s dynamic animation and outrageous ilk were well captured by screenwriter Bob Schooley, who observed, “The rush of MAGA media personalities to performatively condemn the halftime show is a prime example of the amount of white shelled grievance is the glue that holds the law together.”

Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg & Co. performed a medley that was, on the whole, safe and sanitized — with the possible exception of Lamar’s “Alright,” an anthem protesting police brutality. In an apparent compromise with the NFL, “po-po” was dropped from the verse, “And we hate po-po, we wanna kill each other dead in the streets, fo sho.”

Teaching the day after Super Sunday, Thompson heard many students say they “really liked” the show – even though it seemed a bit dated and historic, “kind of a museum piece, almost”.

Overall, Silver said, the show featured “great music by great artists. And Emimen took a knee.

“It was a win.”

Persistent skepticism

This echoed the assessment of Mickale Jones, aka Tru Lyric, the rapper born in Santa Rosa who released her album Beautiful Imperfections in 2018.

Describing hip-hop as a mixture of “fashion, slang, dance, artistry and confidence”, Jones was delighted to see “not only the music represented, but also these other aspects: the low jumpers, the iconic outfits” and the will of Emimen to continue. the discomfort of the NFL taking a knee.

This expression of solidarity with Kaepernick was a reminder, Jones wrote in an email, of “the toxic relationship the NFL has had with the black community as a whole.

“We certainly haven’t forgotten the excruciating efforts the NFL has gone to to silence the free speech of black athletes who make up well over half of its players.

“A lot of us,” he added, “are a bit skeptical of the NFL’s intentions. Was it genuine inclusion? Or was it an attempt to win back the black community while refusing to resolve the deeper issues (of the league)?”

The halftime show, he hopes, will help ease the fears of many concert halls, festivals and promoters wary of booking hip-hop artists, whom they associate “with violence and lack of professionalism”.

It would be a W for hip-hop, an L for hate.

You can reach editor Austin Murphy at [email protected] or on Twitter @ausmurph88.


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