Rihanna’s stirring new Super Bowl film is making fans emotional: ‘Our little girls need this’

Rihanna champions Barbados in new promo for Super Bowl halftime show. (Apple Music_Getty)

Global superstar Rihanna is making her long-awaited live musical return at the Super Bowl and is ready to represent her communities.

The Fenty Beauty entrepreneur took a step back from music after her 2016 album Anti to concentrate on growing her business, subsequently becoming America’s youngest self-made billionaire.

And as she embraces new motherhood and expands her beauty empire, she is finally returning to the stage when she headlines the Super Bowl halftime show this weekend in what’s set to be a showstopping homage to the culture and community she grew up with.

Speaking at an Apple Music press conference ahead of her performance, the Grammy-winning singer, who was born in Barbados, said representation was a key driver behind her decision to take on the gig.

“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show,” she explained.

“Representation for immigrants, representing for my country Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere. I think that’s really important.

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“[It’s] key for people to see the possibilities and I’m honoured to be here and to be doing this.”

Rihanna, who hasn’t been on stage for seven years and whose performance at the Super Bowl is being heralded by fans as a musical comeback, also spoke about the cultural significance of the show.

“It’s a long way from home,” she continued. “It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on and I could have never guessed that I would have made it here so it’s a celebration of that. I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl stage.”

And none more so is this reflected than the latest Apple Music advert teasing her upcoming performance, which is set on the streets of Saint Michael in Barbados that Rihanna used to play on as a child.

The advert follows a girl who walks the streets wearing her mother’s sunglasses to Rihanna’s “Run This Town”.

The video goes past Rihanna’s childhood home and along Rihanna Drive, a street renamed after the celebrity in 2017 to honour her success.

It ends with the girl and her friends flying kits, alongside the message: “My whole life was shaped on this very road, I was just a little island girl flying kits in the cemetery. But I had big dreams.”

The advert has given fans everywhere “goosebumps” as they share the importance of this representation.

“Such a full circle moment. Just an abundantly clear reference to Rihanna’s beginnings as an artist who was put onto the worlds purview from her island and has continued to infuse that same island into a lot of her identity as a pop juggernaut. She’s one of the best to do it,” one person wrote.

While another added: “This ad was such an important portrayal of representation for black girls. In particular dark skinned black girls. Who often times, are faced with the media constantly not showing dark skinned women/girls as the standard. Felt real relatable.”

Alongside uplifting her community, Rihanna also shared another reason it was the right time to take to the stage.

The “Umbrella” singer, who became a mother in May 2022, said her nine-month-old baby son has given her inspiration to go for it despite her doubts. “When you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world — you can do anything,”‘ she explained.

“And the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, so as scary as that was … there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. It’s important for my son to see that.”

As for what to expect, aside from the length of the set – 13 minutes – the jury is still out.

“It’s going to be a celebration of my catalog in the best way,” she teased, “I think we did a pretty good job at narrowing it down.”

Given the number of chart-topping hits and fan favourites, the singer has hard a hard time trimming the setlist.

“There’s probably been about 39 versions of the setlist right now,” she added. “We’re on our 39th. Every little change counts.”

In the lead up to her Super Bowl return (and potential new album and world tour), Rihanna released two new songs for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack which have divided fans.

Rihanna will perform during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday 12 February.