With so many high-profile Black artists turning down the Super Bowl halftime gig, Maroon 5’s PJ Morton faces a difficult choice. On one hand, he wants to show solidarity with the struggle of Colin Kaepernick, much like Cardi B, Jay-Z, and Rihanna, but only the other hand, his band has been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and platform and it would be difficult to turn it down. PJ, who plays keyboard since 2012, said as much in a recent interview with the Associated Press, quoted here via The Washington Post.
“There was conflict for sure,” he noted of the choice to play with the band for the controversial halftime show. While admitted that the discord surrounding the event “spoiled it” for him “because you just want to be happy and excited to play and some of the negativity definitely made it not as fun initially,” he also explained his reasoning for agreeing to the gig, making a distinction between doing a job and fighting for his beliefs:
There was conflict just because of all the rhetoric and all that I’ve seen around it. I guess I had to come to the conclusion that you can be employed by a corporation and still support the things that are being fought against. I can clearly say I am against police brutality against black and brown people at a higher rate, and I am for peacefully protesting. I stand for those things strongly, but I also think there are people who are employed by the NFL, who play football every week and support what Kaep stands for and those two things as well. I think we can perform for the NFL and the players can play for the NFL and we can support Kaep at the same time.
He also said that the band was excited to play alongside Atlanta legend Big Boi and rap superstar of the moment Travis Scott in Atlanta and “show people that we’re real musicians and going to put on an amazing show.”
Travis recently came under fire for agreeing to do the show as well when it was revealed that Kaepernick didn’t approve of his decision to play, despite Travis’ insistence that he got the NFL to agree to donate to social justice causes as part of their agreement. Many fans and entertainers have boycotted the NFL since Kaepernick’s 2017 protest against police brutality led to his being “blackballed” by the league after receiving negative press and comments from Donald Trump.