Dr. Dre has confirmed National Football League (NFL) bosses asked him to make “minor changes” to his Super Bowl Halftime Show set.
The hip-hop legend was joined by one-time proteges Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent on Sunday for a performance celebrating his back catalogue as a producer – with Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige also appearing.
Rumours had swirled that Eminem would be barred from taking the knee on stage – but the Lose Yourself rapper made the anti-racism gesture for approximately one minute during the gig.
Dre told TMZ that NFL chiefs had asked them to make “minor” changes to their performances – but that avoiding taking the knee wasn’t one of them.
“There were a few things that we had to change but it was like really minor things,” he explained. “Em taking the knee that was him doing that on his own and there was no problem with that.”
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy had also said on Monday that officials had not tried to stop Eminem from taking a knee.
“We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” McCarthy explained.
Taking the knee has a contentious history within the NFL as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularised it as a protest against racism and police brutality back in 2016 when he knelt during the U.S. national anthem. Many other players then followed suit.
His move drew criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump and Kaepernick sued NFL leaders after failing to find a team following his departure from the 49ers at the end of that season. He accused team owners of colluding to prevent him from resuming his career – with the case settled out of court in 2019.