Travis Scott sparked a big controversy after he announced that he’ll be performing alongside Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl halftime show in Feb. 2019. Fans argued that the rapper was blatantly going against Colin Kaepernick, who has sued the NFL for collusion after his inability to land on a team after jumpstarting a movement to bring awareness to social injustices in the United States. Despite the public outrage, however, Scott has released a statement on Jan. 13, explaining why he chose to go ahead with the performance.
According to the “Sicko Mode” artist, he agreed to the show on one condition. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in. I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire,” he said, most likely referencing Kaepernick’s silent protest during the national anthem. “So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation.”
Scott negotiated a donation to Dream Corps, Van Jones’ organization. Dream Corps was founded in 2014 and holds a mission “to inspire action, serve justice and improve people’s lives.”
“I am proud to support Dream Corps. and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change,” La Flame added.
Jones applauded Scott on Twitter following the announcement, writing, “this is great news! Welcome, @trvsXX. Glad to have you with us, brother!”
While Scott’s donation is a noble act, it might not be met with the same approval as other artists who were previously in his shoes. His statement comes briefly after Rihanna, Cardi B, P!nk, and even Amy Schumer announced that they would not be taking part in the Super Bowl festivities due to their support of Colin Kaepernick and the right to protest. Artists like Meek Mill and Jay-Z also expressed frustrations with Trav for not backing out of the gig.
However, there’s arguably precedent to Scott’s move. In 2013, Jay-Z launched a collection with the upscale retail store Barneys, with the store donating 25 percent of the proceeds to Jay’s scholarship foundation to help underserved youth go to college. But that April, 19-year-old Trayon Christian alleged racial profiling against the retailer: after purchasing an expensive Ferragamo belt, he was stopped by detectives, handcuffed, and detained at a police station. While many called for Jay-Z to terminate the partnership, he instead leveraged renegotiated to make Barneys increase its donation to 100 percent of the proceeds. Many critics still felt that Jay-Z made the wrong choice. Only time will tell if this proves to be a smart move by Travis Scott.
Super Bowl LIII is set to air on Sunday, Feb. 3.