“We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage,” the singer, 39, posted on Instagram just after the show on Sunday, February 3. “We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love. ❤️”
Levine wrote the message alongside photos of the illuminated drones that formed words above Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium during the band’s performance. “When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the [Super Bowl halftime show], I took out my pen and just wrote,” he revealed. “Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight.”
He continued: “And the list of words is … forgive, laugh, cry, smile, share, live, endure, embrace, remember, enlighten, preserve, inspire, sweat, fight, express, give, receive, elevate, climb, unify, fortify, soften, dance, scream, dream, educate, provide, inhale, exhale, persevere, stand, kneel, overcome, love, listen.”
The Voice coach and his bandmates — Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, Matt Flynn, PJ Morton and Sam Farrar — faced intense controversy since September, when Us Weekly exclusively revealed the group had accepted the offer to perform at Super Bowl LIII. More than 113,000 people signed a petition asking Maroon 5 to back out of the gig in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who ended his San Francisco 49ers contract in 2017 amid outcry over his peaceful protests of police brutality and racial inequality.
The backlash against Maroon 5 intensified when the NFL canceled the Grammy-winning band’s press conference on Tuesday, January 29. Two days later, Levine aired his thoughts on all the criticism. “You know, I think when you look back on every Super Bowl halftime show, it is this insatiable urge to hate a little bit,” he told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, January 31. “I am not in the right profession if I can’t handle a bit of controversy. It is what it is. We would like to move on from it and speak through the music.”
Amid calls for a boycott of Super Bowl LIII over the treatment of Kaepernick, 31, Sunday’s game earned CBS the lowest Super Bowl ratings in 10 years, according to Deadline. Meanwhile, Levine attracted more criticism on Sunday for going shirtless during Maroon 5’s halftime performance after Janet Jackson was shamed for accidentally exposing her nipple during her Super Bowl performance in 2004.
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