Canadian pop star The Weeknd, known for a soulful blend of hip hop and R&B, will perform for a coronavirus-reduced capacity audience at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
“We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl, and one can only dream of being in that position,” The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, said in a statement. “I’m humbled, honored and ecstatic to be the center of that infamous stage this year.”
The Weeknd, 30, has five No. 1 hits including “Can’t Feel My Face,” and his latest, “Blinding Lights” from his recent album “After Hours.”
It will be the second halftime show the NFL has produced with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company.
“The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own,” Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said in a statement. “His soulful uniqueness has defined a new generation of greatness in music and artistry.”
The NFL partnered with Jay-Z in 2019 after musicians said they would not work with the league as a show of solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling to protest police brutality and social injustice in 2016 and has not played since then.
The Weeknd is an advocate for social justice causes and has donated more than $200,000 to Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, The New York Times reported.
Recent past performers include Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.
The NFL is considering a plan to allow the stadium to hold fans at 20% capacity, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Currently the fan capacity at the stadium where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play is capped at 16,000. In the past, hundreds of pre-selected fans come onto the field to cheer on performers during the show. It is still unclear how the league plans to stage this year’s show.