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The Super Bowl is an annual tradition in America–it’s probably more coveted than apple pie and the Bible. But if it’s served up anything less than lily white or “pure”, people are going to have something to say about their beloved tradition being “tainted”. And according to some people’s social media reactions, they didn’t like what they got in a display of radicalism during the halftime show.

This past Sunday, more than one out of four households tuned in to watch the LA Rams rise as the league champions. Old school hip hop lovers tapped in for a highly anticipated halftime show performance from some of the industry greats–Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. To make it even sweeter, California native Anderson Paak and New York’s own 50 Cent made appearances. Ladies and gentlemen, the east coast/west coast beef we witnessed in hip hop years ago is officially dead.

But America’s reality of racial unrest made its way to the stage when Eminem did the “unspeakable” in taking a knee after his set.

Eminem kneeled down at the end of his performance during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show.Credit…Ben Solomon for The New York Times
Eminem kneeled down at the end of his performance during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show.Credit…Ben Solomon for The New York Times

Eminem has been invited to the cookout for years

Now, the internet rumor mill is saying he did it in remembrance of the late, great rapper and actor Tupac Shakur since it came at the intro of “I Ain’t Mad at Cha”. However, those rumors haven’t been substantiated. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people made that up in their heads as alternative facts. 

Media outlets are saying he kneeled in salute to former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and in the name of racial inequality. This makes more sense, especially with footage of Slim Shady riding through SoFi Stadium on a golf cart with his fist raised in the air.

Eminem has repeatedly been invited to the cookout by the Black Delegation. As our super light-skinned cousin, it’s no surprise that he took that opportunity to take a stand. And with the NFL already being on ice for racist hiring practices, they wanted to kill brewing speculation around this being an act of defiance, releasing a statement that they were fully aware that Eminem would kneel during his performance. 

No one had anything negative to say about Eminem – or the halftime show lineup in general – until he took a knee. When that happened, people in the MAGA Mob lost their shit.

Nick Adams – who appears to want to be Trump’s side-chick in the worst way – started tweeting Eminem’s rap sheet, saying Em hated this country and that halftime show was “full of criminals”.

MAGA Mob can’t stand to see Eminem kneel

The Chads and Karens chimed in, complaining that sports have become too politicized, and that his kneeling was disgusting, disrespectful, etc., etc.

This sounds just the same as when that reporter told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” and when the NFL basically told Kaepernick to shut up and throw the ball or else. These people don’t have a problem with Black people or our allies running, rapping or dribbling until we use those arenas to take a stand for the injustices we face on a daily basis. 

MAGA Mob and affiliates, your privilege, hypocrisy and racism is annoying. If y’all are so pressed about us having to take a stand or kneel to get our message across, imagine how tired we are of having to do it? It’s simple damn math–give us the respect we deserve as human beings and we won’t have to disrupt your favorite pastimes. 

Eminem won’t catch as much heat as Kaepernick because he didn’t kneel during the anthem and at the end of the day, he’s still a White guy. He won’t be blackballed or canceled and in a few days, people’s “outrage” will fade. But when that halftime show outrage does pass in a few days time, we’ll still be taking a stand and kneeling because racism is one of this country’s oldest traditions that we cannot and will not let stand. 

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

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