“Not Afraid” rapper Eminem took a knee during his performance during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show, and the NFL claimed to be “aware” despite an earlier report that claimed the league objected.
During the star-studded halftime show, which featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent; rapper Eminem took a “Colin Kaepernick-style” knee during the tail end of his “Lose Yourself” performance.
He put a hand on his head and looked down as Dr. Dre sat down at a white piano and played excerpts from Tupac Shakur’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” and his own 1999 hit “Still D.R.E..”
The NFL denied that they had tried to prevent Eminem from making the gesture, which controversially originated in the league, when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeled in protest of racial injustice during the National Anthem in 2016.
“That report was erroneous,” an NFL spokesperson commented after the show. “We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that.”
The league may have been “aware,” but unsuccessful at preventing the superstar from getting his way. According to the report, they had been giving Dr. Dre a headache during the planning of the set he paid $7 million out-of-pocket to organize.
A source said that Dre felt “disgustingly censored” during the planning process, which included the NFL complaining about “Still Dre” lyric “still not loving police,” out of fear of sparking a “divisive culture war moment,” and flagging a piece of Snoop Dogg’s wardrobe for “possibly appearing gang-related.”