News that Travis Scott would be performing with Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl first leaked out in December, but three weeks passed before the performance was officially announced. That announcement only came after Scott announced that he and the NFL would donate $500,000 to the non-profit social-justice organization Dream Corps. The move was clearly intended to blunt the criticism Maroon 5 and particularly Scott had received for performing at the game, due largely to the league’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has essentially been banished from professional football for taking a knee during the pre-game performances of the national anthem, a move many feel is based in racism.
Scott and Kaepernick had at least one phone conversation before the rapper confirmed his Super Bowl appearance, sources tell Variety. A source close to Scott said that while the two did not necessarily agree, they emerged from the conversation with mutual respect and understanding, with the rapper taking the stance that everyone makes a statement in their own way and he felt that the money going toward Dream Corps, combined with the platform provided by the Super Bowl, will do some good. The source also said that Scott would not confirm his performance until the donation was locked in.
Reps for Kaepernick and Scott declined Variety‘s requests for comment.
The comments were similar to the ones Scott made in his statement announcing the donation. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” he said. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”
After the three performers were confirmed, a petition helmed by Change.org demanding that Maroon 5 cancel their performance, which had collected nearly 85,000 signatures, was updated to request that all three take a knee during the halftime performance. “It appears these artists aren’t backing out at this point. So now what?,” the petition reads. “There’s one way they can still redeem their reputation with their fans. Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi: take a knee during your set.”
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