To some, the Super Bowl is simply Rihanna's show.
"Everybody is saying that football is just opening up for her — it's the Rihanna show," Ronald Fenty, the superstar singer's father told Page Six: "It's the moment that everybody has been waiting for."
The "Umbrella" singer's halftime performance Sunday night will mark her return to the stage for the first time since 2018.
And even the sold-out T-shirts made by Rihanna's billion-dollar company, Savage X Fenty, read: "Rihanna Concert interrupted by a football game. Weird But Whatever."
Although he doesn't have tickets to the Super Bowl, Ronald, 69, was set to fly from his home country of Barbados to Las Vegas on Friday, where he and two friends were due to pick up a Winnebago they planned to make their home for a few days. "
"The hotels are sold out at outrageous prices," said Ronald, despite his daughter being a billionaire. "Oh my gosh, they're like $1,600 a night!"
From there, the trio were set to make the nearly five-hour drive to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, where the Kansas City Chiefs will do battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. "We're going to the after-party," Ronald said. "We don't have tickets for the show,."
Page Six is told that Rihanna herself has been staying at a private home in Paradise Hills, Arizona. But the singer admitted this week that she has hardly been sleeping as she rehearses through the night for the 13-minute performance that fans desperately hope will lead to an announcement of new music and a tour.
Rihanna, who was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, and her father, a former alcoholic and crack addict, have had a troubled relationship over the years. He divorced her beloved mother, Monica, when the singer was 14.
In September 2021, Rihanna, 34, scrapped the lawsuit she had brought against her dad, accusing him of misusing her name to benefit his own entertainment company, just weeks before they were meant to meet in court. It's believed they settled the case and, according to Ronald, father and daughter have now reconciled.
He told Page Six about being a doting grandpa to Rihanna's son, whom she welcomed in May 2022 with her longtime love, rapper A$AP Rocky.
Ronald said Rihanna has brought the baby back to her home island of Barbados twice with Rocky. Asked how the superstar is coping with motherhood, he replied: "She's loving it. She's a very overprotective mother.
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"Everybody says [the baby] looks like me, but you know, babies change, faces change. He [resembles] a lot of Rihanna and Rocky together."
Rocky, 34, who has called Rihanna "the love of my life," is "such a cool guy," according to Ronald. "Very respectable. He's taking to fatherhood very well."
But there's one thing the proud grandpa could not be cajoled to reveal: the baby's name.Revealing that Rihanna had gone through a "few names" for the little boy, he added: "She'll have my head if I tell you!"
Asked if Rihanna and Rocky plan to tie the knot, Fenty replied: "I don't know about marriage, I really don't know."
In 2019, Rihanna famously turned down the chance to headline the Super Bowl halftime show, telling Vogue she did so in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was rejected by the NFL for kneeling in protest of systemic racism and police brutality in 2016. "I just couldn't be a sellout," she has said. "I couldn't be an enabler."
Now, the singer turned beauty billionaire is set to take the stage as the Apple Music halftime act for Super Bowl LVII, in front of an estimated 192 million viewers. Rihanna has not performed live since she rocked the Grammy Awards in 2018, singing "Wild Thoughts" with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller, and she hasn't toured since the end of the "Anti" tour in late 2016.
"It feels like it could have only been now." she said of the halftime show at a press conference on Thursday. "I mean, when I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, 'You sure? I'm three months postpartum. Should I be making major decisions like this right now? I might regret this'.
"But when you become a mom, there's something that just happens where you feel like you can take on the world. You can do anything, and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world."
Getting back in shape has also been a massive undertaking for the "Diamonds" star.
"The physical challenge has definitely been immense for many reasons, of course. I haven't done this in a minute. You're just running around for 13 minutes, trying to put a two-hour set in 13 minutes … " she said. "From the time it starts, it just never ends until it's the very last second … It's a jam-packed show, and it takes a toll on your body, it really does."
She also plans to incorporate elements of her Caribbean culture into the performance. "That's a big part of why this is important for me to do this show — representation, representing for immigrants, representing for my country of Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere," said Rihanna. "That's really important. That's key, for people to see the possibilities."
In October, Rihanna released her first single since 2017, "Lift Me Up" from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which has earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. She will likely perform at the Academy Awards ceremony on March 12, a Hollywood source confirmed to Page Six.
The singer's fans are desperate for any new music. Fans have nicknamed the next album "R9."
"She knows she has to finish the album for her fans," Ronald said. "Even on my Instagram, all I get asked is 'when is R9 coming?!'"
At the Golden Globes in January, where she lost Best Song to Chandrabose and M.M. Keeravaani's "Naatu Naatu" from the film "RRR," Rihanna laughed as host Jerrod Carmichael joked: "I'm gonna say something controversial — I will actually get in trouble for this. Rihanna, you take all the time you want on that album, girl … Don't let these fools on the internet pressure you into nothing!"
As the singer said Thursday, "Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing."
In her time away from performing, Rihanna has turned her Fenty Beauty, launched six years ago with French luxury goods giant LVMH, into one of the most inclusive and successful cosmetics brands in the industry, worth an estimated $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.
In 2018, she launched the lingerie brand Savage X Fenty, which was weighing a $3 billion IPO, following a $125 million funding round last year. Together the businesses make up the vast majority of Rihanna's estimated $1.4 billion fortune.
It's lucky she doesn't need the cash, because the singer won't be paid for her Super Bowl performance — as is custom for halftime headliners, who have previously included Beyoncé, Madonna, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.
However, the show does give artists a huge boost. When Beyoncé performed in 2016 she used the stage to announce her Formation World tour, while Shakira and Jennifer Lopez — the first Latina artists to headline the Super Bowl, in 2020 — saw 267% and 187% streaming gains in the week following their performance, Billboard reported.
And last year's performers, hip-hop legends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and 50 Cent, all saw a boost to their personal catalogs.
Fans are also convinced that Jay-Z, who helped discover Rihanna and sign her to her first record contract may take to the stage with his former proteégé. On Thursday she released a clip a of a young girl strutting her stuff and joining her friends to fly kites as Jay-Z's song "Run This Town," on which Rihanna features, plays in the background.
"I get involved with every aspect of anything that I do," Rihanna said. "Whether it's the Super Bowl, whether it's a makeup product, whether it's Savage lingerie…I want to see the copy on the website. I want to name every lipstick that I make."If it flops or it flies, my name has to stand by that."