Supporters of Colin Kaepernick are calling on singer Harry Styles to pull out of his headline performance at the pre-Super Bowl Pepsi Zero Sugar party, which will take place on January 31 on Meridian Island in Miami, Florida, ahead of the Super Bowl on February 2.
They want Styes to stand in solidarity with Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback, who they say was blackballed from the NFL in 2016 for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against minorities. Pepsi also came under fire in 2017, after an advert borrowing imagery from Black Lives Matter - suggesting a can of Pepsi could smooth over race relations - was accused of racial insensitivity. Kaepernick is now a free agent, since NFL teams refused to sign him.
“I’m excited to be playing the Pepsi Super Bowl party this year. I hear they’re amazing and I’m looking forward to it. See you in Miami,” Styles, who has just released a number one album Fine Line, said. However, the hashtag “HarryBackOut” was trending on Twitter last night.
Some Twitter users pointed out that while Styles may be contractually obliged to continue with the performance, he could donate his fee to charity.
Several high-profile musicians have supported Kaepernick in the past, such as Rihanna, J Cole, Chris Brown and John Legend.