Let’s shake-up the Super Bowl halftime show

Illustration by Carolyn Rees

#KickinWithKolby — Thoughts from a Native sportsfan #Sportzball

Did you know, year in and year out, you have a ticket to the biggest concert in the world?

That’s right, you do!

The Super Bowl halftime show typically draws in more than 100 million viewers which makes it the most-watched musical performance of the year, according to ESPN.

Overall, last year’s game and halftime show were seen as less than stellar with the New England Patriots defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13 to 3 (the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history); and Maroon 5 didn’t provide any memorable moments during their set.


In case you hadn’t heard, last week, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira announced they will co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami. Being that the game is in Miami, I wouldn’t be surprised by a Pitbull appearance either, #Dale.

They will be the first women to headline the show since Lady Gaga in 2017. The “Poker Face” singer is credited for having the second-most watched halftime show ever with 117.5 million people tuning in.

If you don’t remember, she jumped off the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, and had a bunch of drones making various figures in the sky. The video of her performance has garnered nearly 53 million views on YouTube.

Some people say you can thank Michael Jackson for turning the halftime show into the spectacle it is today. Certainly, with less than 20 minutes to give a memorable performance, artists must do something unique to stand out.

Off the top of my head, I remember Katy Perry riding in on a giant lion, Beyonce overshadowing Coldplay with her Black Panthers tribute a day after releasing “Formation” and everyone remembers the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.

Although, you know what would be truly memorable, super progressive and just flat-out cool?

If the powers that be let some Native artists perform on the world’s biggest stage.

Imagine, A Tribe Called Red doing a live mix with Northern Cree. Or the Snotty Nose Rez Kids going bar for bar with the grandmas from “Kokum Rap.” What about a halftime hand drum contest?

Hell, a 20-minute intertribal would suffice.

There’s certainly not a lack of Indigenous talent out there to select from. From Fawn Wood to Tanya Tagaq to a countless number of top-notch drum groups, Indian Country could put on a show the world would never forget.

(Here is a PBS list of Native musicians you should know.)

Don’t get me wrong, I am just as pumped as the next person for the show J-Lo and Shakira are bound to put on, I mean they are international superstars. It’s also cool to have people of color represented on the biggest stage in entertainment but we can always strive to be better and give opportunities to a too often forgotten group of people.

In a time when land acknowledgements are becoming increasingly popular, the game will be played on ancestral Tequesta and Seminole land by the way, even that would be a positive step forward.

Yet, how cool would it be if Natives got to perform for the world during the Super Bowl halftime show?

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Kolby KickingWoman is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is Blackfeet/Gros Ventre from the great state of Montana and currently reports and lives in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email - kkickingwoman@indiancountrytoday.com

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