The NFL’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show was embedded with an array of political messages hiding in plain view.
From the rainbow theme to the Black Panther suits worn by Beyonce’s dancers, the show was meant to celebrate a social platform that took its cues from the Democratic Party in a key presidential election year.
“Everything at the Super Bowl halftime show was covered in rainbows, from Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s shirt to the stage he was dancing on,” noted Seth Millstein, a writer for Bustle.com, a left-of-center website targeting women readers. “At first, it seemed like an arbitrary artistic decision, but the intent became clear at the end. After the performances were over, the audience flipped over rainbow-colored placards that read ‘Believe In Love,’ a tacit endorsement of marriage equality.”
The Super Bowl’s pro-“gay” marriage moment was “refreshing and unexpected, and illustrated just how much public sentiment on the issue has changed over the last several years,” Millstein gushed, noting that the game was hosted by San Francisco, a bastion of the left.
Millstein said he “felt a chill down my spine (the good kind) when I saw ‘Believe In Love’ displayed so prominently at one of the most popular sports events in America. This was a combination of local pride — I was born and used to live in San Francisco — and the simple reminder of the country’s progress on LGBTQ acceptance.”
Even five years ago, “it wouldn’t have been conceivably for the Super Bowl to express an unabashedly pro-gay message during the halftime show,” he said, finally concluding that “It was an important symbolic moment, and given the NFL’s reputation for rampant homophobia, a very welcome one.”
In another facet of the NFL’s halftime show, female pop star Beyonce and her dancers took on a decidedly anti-cop tone, coming out in Black Panther costumes to perform for millions of viewers around the world.
She sang “Formation,” featuring lyrics like “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros/ I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”
At one point during the performance, Beyonce’s dancers raised their arms in the air in a gesture referencing the black power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico Olympics in 1968.
“Millions of viewers just watched a 12-minute tribute to LGBT love — with an epic Black Lives Matter interlude,” noted blogger Tom Barnes for Mic.com.
Barnes put the whole performance in perspective in his article, “The secret meaning behind Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyonce’s performance“:
“British rock band Coldplay was booked as the halftime show’s top-biller, and they came out on a stage decked in rainbow. At first, the color seemed a nod to the color scheme on Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams album cover or their recent video for ‘A Hymn for the Weekend,’ set in Mumbai, India, during the Holi festival of color. However, the band never played that song.
“A few choice moments helped put those colors in perspective. During one of the performance’s early shots, Chris Martin went up to a member of the crowd waving a pride flag right waving all over Martin’s head. Within that moment, the performance’s entire meaning changed: Millions of viewers just watched a 12-minute tribute to LGBT love — with an epic Black Lives Matter interlude.”
After the game, legendary NFL quarterback Peyton Manning managed to get in a word for God, calling him the “Man upstairs,” who he would thank after celebrating with his family and teammates and drinking “a lot of beer.”
“I want to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids. I want to go celebrate with my family and teammates, and I’m going to drink a lot of beer. … Von Miller is buying,” Manning said. “Those are my priorities at this point. I’ll take some time to reflect. And I’m going to say a prayer and a thank-you to the man upstairs for this opportunity as well.”
Manning even gave a free advertisement for his favorite brand.
“I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight, I promise you that,” he said.
“Bizarrely, Manning mentioned Budweiser twice in post-game interviews, leading the beer company to put out a statement insisting the quarterback had not been paid to mention their beverage,” the Daily Mail noted.
Lisa Weser, head of marketing at Budweiser, tweeted: “Hi Internet. For the record, Budweiser did not pay Peyton Manning to mention Budweiser tonight. We were surprised and delighted that he did.”
However, Manning’s investment portfolio does include part ownership of two Anheuser-Busch distributors in his native Louisiana. Anheuser-Busch brews Budweiser.