Let's talk about Rihanna's Super Bowl show.

by Charles Gerian

Rihanna’s cultural genocide of America’s values: too much for our country?

Sunday night was Super Bowl LVII, which saw a tight game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles and of course a slew of commercials and movie trailers accompanied by a sizzling and flashy “greatest hits” Apple halftime show by Barbadian singer Rihanna.

A visibly pregnant Rihanna, who has been an icon since I was in middle or high school with hits like “Umbrella” and “Disturbia”, dazzled and danced across raising platforms with a squad of excellently choreographed dancers performing hits like the aforementioned “Umbrella” along with “We Found Love”, “Run This Town”, “All of the Lights”, “Rude Boy”, “Work”, and others.

While her performance was visibly impressive, I do feel like it did crescendo too early and wasn’t able to properly carry the hype or build up to anything truly spectacular, which is a shame since I was waiting for “Shut Up and Drive” and “Disturbia” which would have been great crowdpleasers but I digress.

On Facebook, however, her performance was another story entirely. Rihanna, clad in a red jump-suit with a breastplate, puffy coat, and baby bump, did some suggestive moves stroking her hand at her crotch as her dancers gyrated erotically during her performance of “Rude Boy”, a sexually-charged piece from her 2010 album “Rated R”.

The “Rude Boy” lyrics are most well-known for “Come here rude boy, boy, can you get it up? Come here rude boy, boy, boy, is you big enough?”

This, in-particular, is hilarious mostly because the same generation I’ve seen dragging the singer on Facebook for that specific moment are the same people who went out and bought Elvis Presley’s records against their parents’ wishes.

Elvis, famously, shucked and jived and thrust his crotch and lead to a national uproar regarding his sexual movements and perverse lyrics.

We went through a similar uproar in 2020 (just before the pandemic) when Shakira and Jlo took the stage during Pepsi’s halftime show.

I draw the comparison to Elvis because I’ve seen so many people wishing that the Super Bowl would bring more “wholesome” acts to perform like, say, Willie Nelson or some variation of a classic rock band.

It’s a shame we can’t have good old-fashioned entertainment anymore, Merle Haggard could take the stage and perform “Okie From Muskogee”, which is definitely not a satirical antiwar protest song about the closed-mindedness of small town, America.

Maybe Def Leppard could perform something sweet and suitably family-friendly like “Pour Some Sugar On Me” or “Hysteria”, which are in no way, shape, or form about sex with references like “peaches and cream” and “opening wide”.

Perhaps Garth Brooks could perform “That Summer”, about a teenage boy working a ranch during an adolescent summer getting his virginity taken by a significantly older woman?

Or Tim McGraw could belt “Red Ragtop” about he and his teenage girlfriend getting an abortion?

Van Halen’s “Black & Blue” about two people have such intense relations that they’re both bruised and battered?

These people keep coming out in droves every year to protest on Facebook and shame the performers of whatever Halftime show, but why?

Is Rihanna really destroying America’s values by doing a little motion? Or is she easier to attack than admitting that kids are tossed a tablet or a phone and get to sift through hundreds upon thousands of videos on YouTube and TikTok that are far, far worse but the parents pay no attention to?

Is Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance any different than watching NFL cheerleaders grinding and humping the grass on the sidelines?

Is Rihanna’s music any different, really, than the kind you grew up with?

As I quoted in my 2020 defense of J-Lo and Shakira’s halftime show, I will leave with this:

A little diddy from 1984 called FOOTLOOSE which famously starred Kevin Bacon as an angsty dancer in a small midwest town that outlawed dancing and rock music.

At the film's climax, Bacon's character Ren speaks to the City Council in attempt to get a Prom dance approved where he delivers an awesome monologue that begins with:

“From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer or so that their crops would be plentiful or so their hunt would be good. And they danced to stay physically fit and show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate. And that, that is the dancing that we’re talking about!”

He references several Biblical passages (Psalm 149 and Ecclesiastes) about the importance of dancing, and finishes:

“See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of, of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”