Super Bowl LVI: NFL Reportedly Asked Eminem Not To Demonstrate By Taking a Knee

by Caitlin Berard

If you can count on hip-hop superstar, Eminem, to do anything, it’s doing exactly what he wants. The star-studded halftime show of Super Bowl LVI was one for the history books, with not one, not two, but five headlining acts performing during the half-hour extravaganza. And while the majority of the show was scrubbed of any divisive references, Eminem managed to make a statement.

After his performance of “Lose Yourself,” the artist took a knee, a gesture protesting violence against the black community, and stayed in the position for a full minute. Though a league spokesman, Brian McCarthy, has stated that the NFL was aware that Eminem planned to kneel, as officials “watched it during rehearsals,” it’s been reported that, at those same rehearsals, NFL officials also requested that he refrain from the gesture.

It’s safe to say that telling Eminem “no” doesn’t typically achieve the desired effect, something the NFL learned with tonight’s show.

Dr. Dre, Eminem, Others Give Legendary Super Bowl Performance

Despite the snap protest, the Super Bowl halftime performance from Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige was nothing short of spectacular. Centering around Dr. Dre and the city of Los Angeles, the show featured some of the biggest hits in hip-hop history.

Perched above a map of L.A. on a house-themed set, Dr. Dre led the lineup in a medley for the ages. The show kicked off with Snoop Dogg, who performed the 2001 song “The Next Episode” alongside Dr. Dre. The melody then shifted into Dre and Tupac’s smash-hit, “California Love,” which Dr. Dre performed solo.

Dropping in upside down, 50 Cent took over from there, breaking out the popular early 2000s track “In Da Club”. After that, it was Mary J. Blige’s turn, who sang snippets of both “Family Affair” and “No More Drama”. With the tempo increasing, Kendrick Lamar took the stage with “M.A.A.D. City” and “All Right” before shifting to “Forgot About Dre” in preparation to pass the torch.

As the set reached its crescendo, Eminem burst onto the stage with “Lose Yourself,” taking a knee as he finished. Dr. Dre brought it home with “Still D.R.E.” and was joined by the other performers for the finale.

Dre, an Inglewood native, has had an incredible career and cemented himself as a hip-hop icon long ago. However, he still viewed his halftime show performance as a massive achievement. Ahead of the performance, Dr. Dre said it would be “one of the biggest thrills of my career”.