Waka Flocka Flame criticizes NFL over Maroon 5 landing Super Bowl halftime show: 'Why wouldn't you let a black artist perform?'

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Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Waka Flocka Flame isn’t happy that Maroon 5 will likely play the Super Bowl halftime show. (Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
Waka Flocka Flame isn’t happy that Maroon 5 will likely play the Super Bowl halftime show. (Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Maroon 5 hasn’t even officially landed the Super Bowl halftime show gig, and they are already facing backlash.

The decision for Adam Levine and gang to headline the February show in Atlanta is being called a “safe choice” and is being compared to Justin Timberlake scoring the gig last year, a performance that was underwhelming. But there are other reasons people hoped it would be someone else onstage. A major one is that Atlanta is known for its hip-hop scene, and some — leading with rapper Waka Flocka Flame — would have liked to see a black artist, or artists, headline.

“I think for the Super Bowl you should have someone from Atlanta representing Atlanta,” the rapper told TMZ. “Just because the Super Bowl’s here we can give them that spice. I think they should have someone like Migos, Future, somebody, I could come play ‘Hard in da Paint’, somebody. … They need somebody from Atlanta in it, it’s only right.” He added, “It’s not fair, but it’s the NFL we’re talking about.”

Waka, who was careful not to dis Maroon 5, calling them “legend,” went on to point out that black men have made a fortune for the NFL — and that that should be a consideration. “They should have been like: ‘You know something, the majority of our players are from this kind of culture, the majority of our players made us this amount of money,’” he said. “You come into the biggest ‘black state’ in America, why wouldn’t you let a black artist perform and show the world that we’re progressing.”

While Billboard reports that Maroon 5 could have surprise guests that are rappers — like Cardi B, who appeared on the band’s “Girls Like You” track, or Travis Scott — the general vibe was that Maroon 5 would not be loved in the gig.

Radio host Mark Zinno wondered whether given the Colin Kaepernick controversy and players taking a knee, the league purposely avoided a popular, black Atlanta artist or group for fear they would “somehow loop ‘kneeling’ or Kaepernick into the performance.”

Though a good point was raised — there isn’t always a correlation between the city and performer.

Meanwhile, you can always count on Ellen DeGeneres to put a positive spin on things.

And we just enjoyed Billy Eichner’s take.

The NFL has yet to give the official word that Maroon 5 is the performer. However, this is fairly typical. The performer gets leaked to create buzz, and then a big, splashy announcement follows. Though this probably wasn’t the buzz they were hoping for.

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