In a display of defiance against the NFL, Eminem knelt during his performance at the Super Bowl halftime show.
The rapper took the knee at the end of a rendition of “Lose Yourself”, which also included Dr Dre, and Anderson .Paak on drums.
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Eminem had apparently mentioned the idea of kneeling ahead of his performance, but had been asked to avoid doing so by Super Bowl organisers.
The form of protest by kneeling was brought to the NFL by Colin Kaepernick, who first began sitting silently on benches during the national anthem, at the start of the 2016 season on 26 August.
On 1 September, he transitioned to taking a knee in protest instead, following advice from Retired Army Green Beret Nate Boyer, who suggested kneeling during the ceremony would be more respectful towards veterans.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem.
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“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Eminem’s move came amid widespread reports that he and fellow headliners Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Snoop Dogg were being heavily censored from making any political statements.
According to reports, Dre felt “disgustingly censored” by executives who didn’t want the performance to become a “divisive culture war moment”.
The NFL also reportedly expressed its discomfort over lyrics in “Still Dre” about “still not loving police”.
Following the halftime show, hundreds of people reacted to Eminem’s decision to kneel on social media.
“The NFL outright told Eminem he can’t do the knee during the show,” one fan commented. “Eminem proceeds to do the knee for one minute. The goat.”
“For the record, I think I know why Eminem was kneeling, but if it’s related to Colin Kaepernick, he should say that,” sports journalist Jemele Hill tweeted. “Not a criticism. But would be a powerful addition to the conversation.”
Photo Credit: Getty