Adam Levine, frontman for band Maroon 5, knew going into the gig that Super Bowl LIII he'd be met with controversy.
"I'm not in the right profession if I can't handle a little bit of controversy. It's what it is. We expected it," Levine told Entertainment Tonight Thursday in advance of the show. The Super Bowl Halftime Show, he said, engenders an "insatiable urge to hate a little bit. He added that the band would like to "move on from it and speak through the music."
This particular Super Bowl has reached an all-time high in terms of controversy, as musical artists like Cardi B and Rihanna boycott the event. (Cardi directly told cameras that she's boycotting, although she will appear in a commercial; Rihanna's refusal is just rumored.) Those boycotting are standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who still doesn't have a job in the NFL.
"Cardi, when are we going to see you play the halftime show?" a TMZ reporter asked Cardi in February of 2018.
"When they hire Colin Kaepernick back," she replied.
Subsequently, Amy Schumer shared that she declined to do any Super Bowl commercials this year, also in solidarity with Kaepernick: "I think it would be cool if @maroon5 backed out of super bowl like @badgalriri Did," Schumer wrote on Instagram. "I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know it must sound like a privilege ass sacrifice but it’s all i got."
But the money — or the love for music? — prevailed, and Maroon 5 is officially playing the Super Bowl. Travis Scott and Big Boi will also be playing, and Scott's performance has already met with controversy as well. In response, Scott pledged $500,000 to the racial justice charity Dream Corp. Maroon 5, also facing mounting scrutiny, announced this week that it would donate $500,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters America.
This is the first interview Levine has given on the subject of Super Bowl controversy. He wants the music to speak for itself — maybe he has a grand plan to get Kaepnernick a job during his performance? That would be cool.
"The spectacle is the music. We wanted to bring it back to a time when it was a little more simple, when the focus was the connection to the song," Levine told ET.