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March 1, 2024

Half-time show presents powerful messages

By MARCIA ZIMMERMAN | February 11, 2016

There are two kinds of Super Bowl fans: those that care about the game and those that come in the last five minutes of the first half to watch the halftime show. However, regardless of the type of football fan, it seemed like everyone was excited to see Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay. While the headliner was officially Coldplay, a British group formed in 1996, Brunos Mars and Beyoncé were invited to perform alongside the band. This was an interesting choice considering it was almost guaranteed that their combined star power would overpower Coldplay.

Lead singer Chris Martin started the performance on the field with fans singing “Viva La Vida,” a classic song from the band released in 2008. Coldplay then performed more recent songs “Paradise” and “Adventure of a Lifetime.”

The stage was lit up with technicolor animations, and half of the audience in the stadium held colored squares that added up to a larger picture, like a sun. The band’s equipment and attire were all technicolor and slightly whimsical, with tie-dye pinwheels and rainbow drums. Performers in gold outfits marched onto the field opening and closing umbrellas like flowers (also brightly colored).

Following the performance by Beyoncé and Mars, the band played “Fix You” as part of a video tribute to past halftime shows. Coldplay’s performance was typical of the band — upbeat, yet soft and flowery.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars then performed “Uptown Funk,” one of the most popular songs of last year. Mars, an obviously skilled dancer and engaging performer, danced with four backup dancers, as is typical for his “Uptown Funk” performances.

While the other performances of the night were entertaining and held their own significance, many agree that Beyonce’s performance was the most powerful for a number of reasons. She announced her arrival with pyrotechnics and performed the song that she released the day before the Super Bowl, “Formation.”

The performance was one of the most politically charged in the Super Bowl’s history. The song itself is one that promotes the empowerment of African Americans in the United States, with lyrics like “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros/ I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” Her backup dancers wore Black Panther-style berets and moved into an X formation to represent Malcolm X. Beyoncé herself donned bandoliers and raised her first in a Black Power salute. Showing further support for the political and social equality of black communities, Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z donated $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter movement on Feb. 5.

The finale of the halftime show was Martin, Mars and Beyoncé singing “Up and Up.” Audience members held up colored squares that spelled out “Believe in Love,” which, when juxtaposed with Coldplay’s rainbow color scheme, declared support for LGBT rights and marriage equality. Though Beyoncé stole the show, all the performances of the night displayed the positive political and social impact that artists can have on their audiences, especially in large-scale venues like the Super Bowl.


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