Cardi B said she received an offer to perform at the Super Bowl, but struggled with the decision to turn down the lucrative opportunity in support of ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
The Grammy-nominated rapper told The Associated Press on Friday evening that she had "mixed feelings" after she declined to take the stage at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta. She said it was a hard decision since her husband, rapper Offset, loves to watch football, but she felt obligated to "stand behind" Kaepernick because he "stood up" for minorities.
"My husband, he loves football. His kids play football. It's really hard for him. ... He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can't go to the Super Bowl, because he's got to stand for something," said Cardi B, who is nominated for five Grammys. She is competing for both album and record of the year.
"You have to sacrifice that," she added. "I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there's a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him."
Kaepernick helped start a wave of protests by kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness to police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. His efforts ignited a political firestorm over whether social justice needs to be addressed at the NFL's marquee event.
Maroon 5 will be joined by Big Boi of Outkast and rapper Travis Scott at halftime of the game between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots on Sunday. Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem.
Some, including Rihanna and Pink, have reportedly turned down offers to perform during this year's halftime. In a recent song, Jay-Z alluded to declining to perform at the Super Bowl, and Amy Schumer refused to appear in a TV ad during the game.
Last year, Cardi B said she wouldn't take the Super Bowl stage until Kaepernick gets a job. With Kaepernick still without a team, she is standing by her words, but will perform at a downtown concert Saturday. She is hosting a party this week and will also appear in a Super Bowl commercial.
Cardi B heard the criticism toward her and other music artists for taking part in Super Bowl-related events. But she believes she can perform at those events outside the championship game without directly supporting the NFL.
"I hear people saying like 'Oh, y'all are saying all this stuff about the Super Bowl, but you're doing all these parties,'" she said. "And it's like, well, if the NFL could benefit off from us, then I'm going to benefit off y'all. Y'all make the most money off our people. Why am I not going to take advantage of y'all and take money from y'all too? Because of y'all, we are getting these parties. OK, thank you."
Cardi B hopes the protests supporting Kaepernick can create positive change in the world, but she's not sure if that will happen anytime soon.
"We got an arrogant president, and the racism right now has been reborn," she said. "They feel mighty brave nowadays. When Obama was around, I just feel like they were praying on the day when his eight years was over. A lot of jealousy."
Cardi B added: "When they see (how) the choices they made due to racism has affected the country, that's when things are going to start changing. Right now, they don't want to accept that their decision has affected the country."