Baby face has been announced as an opener for Super Bowl LVII — and the legendary singer plans to pay tribute to his late mother with a special partnership for the performance.
The announcement arrived on Tuesday (January 24), and included, among other things, Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph and country music star Chris Stapleton are also announced as openers. Babyface will sing “America the Beautiful,” while Ralph will perform the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and Stapleton will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Talking to TMZ about the performance right after it was announced, Babyface admitted he was shocked to be asked and won’t take the opportunity lightly.
“I can safely say I never saw this coming,” he began. “It’s good. It’s an honor to do it. I was honored that I got the call and that everyone also supported the NFL and Roc Nation.”
“I get completely rattled when this happens,” he continued. “As much as I want to try to be comfortable with it, I know I get nervous because you think about how many people you’re actually performing for and what that moment means, and I’m not going to take that moment lightly , because it’s an honor. And regardless of what anyone thinks, to have this moment at this point in my life as well, it’s very special, so I’m going to treat it with respect.”
He then talked about how both his late mother and late brother would be so excited. In honor of her mother, Babyface has teamed up with a company to make hoodies for the performance that will donate proceeds to an organization for Alzheimer’s patients that she was involved with.
“For the past few years, ever since my mom died, I’ve always pushed myself to go and do things that would either be out of my comfort zone or things that I hadn’t done before,” Babyface said. “So now here I am in the Super Bowl, and I could only imagine what she would be thinking at this particular time. And even my brother Marvin, who is not here with us either, he would be jumping up and down.”
He continued: “Because this is important to me, I ended up teaming up with this company called Shine The Light On. They do t-shirts and hoodies and then we’re going to do some hoodies together and I’ll be able to donate some of those proceeds to Keep Memory Alive—which was something my mom did, which deals with Alzheimer’s patients. It’s a full thing that makes sense. It had to happen.”
Rihanna will also perform at this year’s Super Bowlholding down the Halftime Show when the big game goes down in Glendale, Arizona on February 12th. In a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, A$AP Rocky talked about how excited he is for his superstar girlfriend’s upcoming performance and how big a spectacle it will be.
“Oh man, I’m just as excited as you are – if not more so,” Rocky said laughing. “I’m super excited. This is big, it’s unbelievable. I’m so happy that my lady is back making music and whatnot and getting back out there, you know?”
He continued: “It’s incredible, especially for both of us. It’s a good year for both of us to be more active and be out there. But the Super Bowl is huge. The creative she is, she’s going to bring it, man.”
The halftime show will mark Rihanna’s first performance at the Super Bowl and her first major appearance since the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.