Almost immediately following the announcement that Rihanna would be headlining the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show, fans speculated that her performance might be less about music and more about makeup. Now Rihanna’s makeup brand Fenty Beauty has thrown fuel onto that fire with a tweet apparently confirming their fears.
Ever since the release of her 2016 album Anti, Rihanna has been largely absent from the music industry. She has instead been making her billions in the world of business, establishing brands in the fragrance, apparel, and cosmetics markets. But on September 25, she announced her first live performance in six years, at the Super Bowl no less.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 25, 2022
The NFL confirmed the news, saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage. Rihanna is a once-in-a-generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career.”
While Rihanna’s fanbase, the Navy, were overjoyed at the news, there was immediate skepticism in their ranks. Given how single-mindedly she has focused on her business ventures over the last several years, why stop now? Her first live performance after a six year hiatus would, after all, make for an unforgettable marketing opportunity.
Rihanna at the superbowl:
— Veka (@babyloniaan) September 25, 2022
when rihanna performs a 14-minute makeup tutorial at the halftime show instead pic.twitter.com/tIstDaGvNt
— crazy broke asian (@tribranchvo) September 25, 2022
Rihanna at the Super Bowl: pic.twitter.com/XPnRCgMR7h
— Juanpi❌ (@revivalrarx) September 25, 2022
The day after the announcement, Rihanna’s makeup brand Fenty Beauty got in on the joke. The Fenty account posted a doctored version of Rihanna’s original Super Bowl tweet, replacing the football with a makeup product.
— FENTY BEAUTY (@fentybeauty) September 26, 2022
Though it was (hopefully) all in good fun, the Navy prepared itself for battle.
Girl you aren’t funny
— ken 🧬 (@kensnostalgia) September 26, 2022
GIRL NOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/UNo9TmVN0q
— Frank (@SawdustFinch) September 26, 2022
I’m really starting to think Rihanna’s not actually performing at the superbowl and it’s just a big Fenty beauty advertisement pic.twitter.com/b5AQiF8sIq
— Max :)🧣 (@signedyourname_) September 26, 2022
Could this signal a big marketing stunt or some world class trolling? Why not both? Rihanna was originally offered a slot at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show, but she declined to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. A second fakeout would make for one wild prank. And technically, the NFL never said her performance would be musical.
We’ll just have to wait and see when the Super Bowl takes place on February 12.