Why The Weeknd's Super Bowl Performance Will Make Black History [VIDEO]
On Thursday, 3-time Grammy Award winning artist The Weeknd announced that he will headline the Pepsi Half Time Show!
This is a significant announcement because there have only been two other Black men in Super Bowl history to have this honor.
Super Bowl 55 is set to kick off on February 7 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Although it's uncertain if fans will be allowed to fill the stands due to the raging pandemic, the show must go on.
When it comes to the Big Game, the halftime show is just as big. But it wasn't always that way.
From Super Bowl I in 1967 - Super Bowl XXIV in 1990, halftime performances were done by college marching bands and drill teams.
The first major musical act to take the halftime stage was New Kids on the Block, and they booked as part of a special 25th Anniversary show in 1991.
You would think that a game that is dominated by Black male athletes would extend the world's largest stage to Black male artists!
But that didn't happen until 1993 when Michael Jackson performed at the Rose Bowl Stadium for Super Bowl XXVVI. His set featured 3,500 volunteers of all ethnicities who helped him sing "Heal the World".
Editors note: The AIDS epidemic was at its peak in 1993.
It would be 14 years until the next Black male solo artist was offered the platform, and that artist was Prince! But before we get to that, let's take a look at some of the other men who were special guests featured during Halftime.
1999 Stevie Wonder with Gloria Estefan
2004 P. Diddy and Nelly with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
After the Nipplegate performance, the producers moved away from hip-hop and pop and opted for Classic Rock acts from 2005 - 2011
Thankfully Prince had recently been inducted to the Rock -N-Roll Hall of fame and in 2007, he came back to show these MF who's Bad.
In 2021 The Weeknd will be the third Black male solo artist to headline the Super Bowl Half Time Show and the first to do so with limited live crowd reaction.
Adam Harter, Pepsi’s Senior Vice President of sports, media and entertainment shared his high hopes for the show, saying that The Weeknd will set “set a new precedent both musically and visually for the most-watched performance of the year.”