The NFL officially announced on Sunday (Monday NZ time) - finally - that Maroon 5, backed by Travis Scott and Big Boi, will perform during this year's Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta, US. Several artists including Rihanna, Cardi B, Jay Z, and Lauryn Hill have reportedly declined to perform at the halftime show, opting to stand solidarity with National Football League player Colin Kaepernick who faced backlash after kneeling in protest of police brutality.
In the announcement video, the band also confirmed that Travis Scott and Big Boi will be joining the performance. Kaepernick made headlines when he kneeled during the National Anthem in protest of the racial inequality in the United States, and he hasn't played professionally since 2017. An online petition urges Maroon 5 to withdraw from the gig.
The Super Bowl will be held on February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the hometown of Big Boi.
Maroon 5 had been long rumored to be playing the feature slot on one of the most watched United States television shows of any year.
Maroon 5 have sold more than 53 million albums and 48 million singles and set a record for the most No. 1 singles (nine) by a group in the 20-year history of the top-40 chart. Scott himself donated $500,000 to Dream Corps. However, he again stirred some controversy when he performed Minnesota-native Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" with a giant projection of the late artist on a large sheet behind the stage.
"I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in", Scott reportedly said in a statement. The organization works to support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators, according to its website.
Timberlake was eventually forgiven - though not Jackson, who reportedly drew the ire of former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves - and was the headliner previous year from Minneapolis.