The queen is back! Rihanna made a triumphant return to the stage at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, February 12.
The “Stay” singer, 34, entered the arena via a platform that descended from the ceiling, opening the performance with “Bitch Better Have My Money” and wearing an all-red look that included a shiny bustier.
Accompanied by a group of dancers dressed in white, Rihanna cycled through a medley of her biggest hits, including “We Found Love,” “Rude Boy” and “Only Girl (In the World).” Though she performed several songs that she made in collaboration with other musicians — Jay-Z‘s “Run This Town” and Kanye West‘s “All of the Lights” — the performance featured no special guests.
For the finale, the “American Oxygen” songstress closed with “Umbrella” and “Diamonds” while ascending back up toward the ceiling on her moving platform.
The Grammy winner has stepped back from music in recent years, choosing to focus on her Fenty Beauty business and Savage x Fenty lingerie line instead. Fans were hopeful that Rihanna’s Super Bowl appearance meant that a new album is coming soon, but the “Work” singer shut down that speculation late last year.
“Super Bowl is one thing,” the Barbados native told the Associated Press in November 2022. “New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?”
The beauty mogul hasn’t released a full-length album since Anti, which debuted in January 2016. In November 2022, however, she contributed two songs — “Lift Me Up” and “Born Again” — to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
The “We Found Love” songstress has also been busy juggling work and motherhood. The Battleship star and her partner, A$AP Rocky, welcomed a son in May 2022. Rihanna gave fans their first glimpse of the little one seven months later, sharing an adorable TikTok video of her son giggling in his car seat. “Hacked,” she captioned the clip, which also showed the baby trying to grab his mom’s phone.
The American Music Award winner has stayed relatively under the radar since the arrival of her son, but she noted that the Super Bowl was a good reason to step back in the spotlight. “If I’m going to leave my baby, I’m going to leave my baby for something special,” she told the AP. “It was now or never for me.”
Rihanna previously turned down the chance to headline the 2019 Super Bowl, explaining that she did so in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, 35, began protesting police brutality and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem at games. He filed a grievance against the NFL in October 2017, claiming that league owners were colluding to keep him off their teams. Kaepernick, who is still a free agent, withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL.
“I couldn’t dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people,” Rihanna told Vogue in October 2019, explaining why she declined the opportunity. “I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”