It’s official: Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta on Feb. 3, and the group will be joined by rapper Travis Scott and former Outkast member Big Boi.
Today’s announcement follows months of controversy concerning the performance. Critics ranging from celebrities like Amy Schumer to organizations like the NAACP have taken issue with the halftime booking — partially because the big game is taking place in Atlanta, the capital of black music in the U.S., but largely because of the NFL’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been essentially drummed out of the league for kneeling during the National Anthem (a move many feel is based in racism) — and advocated for musicians to turn down the gig.
Performing at the Super Bowl now amounts to an endorsement of the NFL’s policies, and sources tell Variety that multiple artists of color — including Cardi B (who is featured on Maroon 5’s recent hit “Girls Like You”), Outkast, Mary J. Blige, Usher and Nicki Minaj — were considered or approached to perform with Maroon 5. It stands to reason that the announcement comes late in the football season schedule — Justin Timberlake, who performed at the 2018 Super Bowl, was announced on the preceding Oct. 23; Lady Gaga, the 2017 performer, was announced on the preceding Sept. 29 — because of negotiations dragging out. (Worth noting: the Pepsi-sponsored halftime performance is an unpaid gig.)
Maroon 5 now has two artists of color performing with them at the Super Bowl — one of them, Big Boi, an Atlanta native, although a large number of initial commenters on social media seemed unaware of who he is. Big Boi was a founding members of Outkast who, though he and his wife now live in Atlanta, was born in Savannah.
Antwan Andre Patton was born and spent the first half of his childhood in Savannah, Georgia, attending Herschel V. Jenkins High School, before moving to Atlanta with his Aunt Renne. Eventually he decided to pursue his interest in music at Tri-Cities High School, a visual and performing arts Magnet school.