Eminem defied the NFL’s wishes during Super Bowl 56.
During the Pepsi Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Eminem took the stage alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent, and decided to take a knee at the end of his song “Lose Yourself” — which also included Anderson .Paak on the drums.
The NFL had reportedly asked Eminem not to take a knee during the performance after he had mentioned the idea leading up to the halftime show.
The NFL reportedly told @Eminem he could not kneel tonight.
— Frank Young (@FY3TV) February 14, 2022
Eminem’s moment came as Dr. Dre played a part of Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” on the piano and many pointed to the possibility that Eminem was simply paying his respects to one of hip hop’s icons who was gone way too soon.
However, others believe that the knee may have come as a form of protest after the performers felt they were being heavily censored for their performance and being steered away from making any political statements. According to the New York Post, Dr. Dre felt “disgustingly censored” by executives who did not want a “divisive culture war moment.” Executives reportedly asked Dre to remove the lyrics “still not loving police” from his hit song “Still Dre.”
While the artists obliged with the lyrics, Eminem decided he was going to kneel regardless of who he upset and what the statement was.