Rihanna will headline the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show for the NFL in 2023, the singer confirmed on Instagram on Sunday.
The announcement came in a simple photo showing the singer’s hand holding a football with the NFL logo on the side.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage,” Seth Dudowsky, the NFL’s head of music, said in a statement. “Rihanna is a once in a generation artist who has bene a cultural force throughout her career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”
The official announcement appeared just hours after TMZ reported Rihanna was in talks for the show. The NFL confirmed the news through a simple retweet of her football photo.
Rihanna’s announcement reignites a music career that had taken a backseat to her other ventures. Since her last studio album Anti came out in 2016, the singer has gone all in on her Fenty businesses, launching lines of make-up, skincare, and lingerie. Her last live performance was at the 2018 Grammy Awards, and her last release was a feature on PARTYNEXTDOOR’s 2020 track “Believe It.”
She has also kept herself busy with her personal life; the singer had a child with rapper A$AP Rocky earlier this year. Still, she has maintained that new music was on its way, even in the over six years since Anti’s release.
“I’m looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better,” she told Vogue for its May cover story. “It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”
The announcement also concludes a week of fervor over who would headline the show. The football league announced last week that Apple Music would replace Pepsi as the show’s sponsor, launching a wave of speculation that Taylor Swift could serve as the show’s headliner due to the midnight announcement.
While dueling articles came out over whether she would succeed the likes of The Weeknd and Lady Gaga, TMZ reported that Swift wanted to finish re-recording her first six albums before she helmed the halftime spectacle.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn. A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment,” Jay-Z said in a statement.