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Rihanna stuns in Super Bowl Halftime show

By Mikaela Russell, Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Billboard

Pop singer and businesswoman Rihanna made her long-awaited return to the stage, and also subtly announced her second pregnancy while performing at the Super Bowl Halftime show this past Sunday, Feb. 12. 

Prior to her anticipated return, Rihanna was interviewed by Nate Burleson from NFL Total Access, and asked if there were going to be any surprises. She responded by saying “I’m thinking of bringing someone” with a smile. After this subtle hint, and after six long years, Rihanna fans worldwide tuned in this past Sunday, for quite the surprise indeed. Within seconds into her show, a baby bump was revealed to the 118.7 million live viewers, causing fans to rush to Twitter to confirm whether she is pregnant or not. 

To many people’s surprise, as she had just given birth to her son last May, the pregnancy was confirmed by a rep of the singer. Within minutes of her performance, the word “pregnant” was trending on Twitter with more than 40 million tweets, discussing whether or not Rihanna was pregnant.

Besides her shocking pregnancy announcement to fans and viewers of the Super Bowl, the Rihanna put on a captivating 13 minute performance, surprisingly with no special guests. She was accompanied by her couple hundred energized dancers who took over most of the show with their electric dance moves, leaving fans across the continent to jolt out of their seats to dance and sing on the top of their lungs in excitement to hear the hits they’ve played on repeat.

LIU has an abundance of Rihanna fans. Junior business major Serena Chen shared her excitement in advance of the performance

 “I’m counting down the days,” she shared. “I’m overflowing with excitement, honestly, I’ve been a fan for years, since I was in elementary school, “Pon de Replay” is my favorite song since I was a kid and I used to play that song on repeat on my Hello Kitty CD player… I’m just trying to get by this week, so I can enjoy this weekend with my girlfriends; we’re having a special viewing just for the special occasion.”

Another student, sophomore political science major Josh Seamore, also shared their anticipation for the performance. 

“I’m actually really excited, truly, which is strange because I was never really a big fan of Rihanna. But my girlfriend is and now she’s really brainwashed me and I’m not gonna lie she has some hits,” he said. 

Seamore also provided a prediction for the performance.

 “I’d be willing to bet she ends with Diamonds or Stay,” he said.

Senior biology major Kelsey Robins, also a fan of Rihanna, shared her thoughts on the surprises hinted at.

 “I would be shocked if she brought out Drake, they have a lot of hits, but I also know they have some history,” she said. 

Robins refers to the dating history between Rihanna and Drake. They briefly dated back in 2016. 

Robins shared her appreciation of Rihanna’s music and the impact it’s had on her life.

“My favorite Rihanna [song] would have to be “Consideration.” I really relate to the song. During my sophomore year, I was going through a rough time with my friends, so I probably played that song like a million times and it just hits different every single time, it’s just perfect in every way,” she said.

Rihanna opened the performance with her hit song “B*tch Better Have my Money,” as the camera zoomed out, she was displayed 50-60 feet in the air on a platform as the camera gave you a full view of the raised platform.

 The stage set up resembled the stage layout on the retro video game “Super Smash Bros.” Memes about the comparable raised platforms soon emerged, with photoshopped video game characters placed next to the singer. 

After her opening song, the hits kept coming, with songs like “Wild Thoughts,” “Work,” “We Found Love,” and closed with her enchanting love ballad, “Diamonds.” Fans and viewers found the singer’s performance breathtaking. 

After her performance, it was revealed that Rihanna declined being paid for the performance. Past performers have been compensated financially For example The Weeknd was paid $17 million dollars for his time in 2021. Rihanna instead opted for brand exposure within her performance, which seems to have been a smart business tactic as her music streams skyrocketed. According to confirmed sources the singer’s music streams surged more than 640 percent. A mini-ad during her performance for her beauty brand, “Fenty Beauty,” caused web browsing searches for the brand to surge reportedly by 883 percent. It’s not confirmed whether sales have increased for her beauty brand since her performance. 

All the attention has been on Rihanna these past few days, with headline after headline covering the singer and her impact on pop culture. Rihanna sits in second place for most watched Super Bowl Halftime shows, just behind Katy Perry and in front of Lady Gaga.

Though it was only 13 minutes that Rihanna performed, it was a moment that many fans will likely talk about and remember for decades to come. Until the next Rihanna project announcement, fans wait patiently like they did for six years, eager to know what’s next for the singer.

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