“On Sunday night, Abel Tesfaye, the 30-year-old musician better known as The Weeknd, completed his decade-long trip from anonymous producer to the heights of pop stardom when he headlined the halftime show at Super Bowl LV. In a performance that surveyed his entire career, he illustrated why he is already preparing to release a greatest hits collection called The Highlights later this month.
“To the opening strains of his 2016 hit “Starboy,” Tesfaye took to the stage designed to look like a heightened version of the Las Vegas strip, back by a dancing choir wearing helmets identical to the ones worn by his collaborators Daft Punk… He jumped in between his various albums, but starting with his back catalog, going from the “The Hills” to his 2015 number one hit “I Can’t Feel My Face,” which played as he walked through a mirrored hallway surrounded by bandaged lookalikes also wearing glittering red blazers, as fireworks erupted in the background.
“Tesfaye walked on after the end of an NFL commercial that advertised a $250 million to commitment to combat racism. “While the season might be over,“ it read, “our commitment to social justice is not.”Though Tesfaye, the first Canadian to perform at the show solo, isn’t necessarily known for his political activism, throughout 2020 he commented on police brutality and racial justice in interviews. Last June, he donated $500,000 to Black Lives Matter, National Bailout, and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp. When he won Video of the Year at last fall’s MTV Video Music Awards, he accepted his trophy with a sober speech that sent condolences to the families of Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor. “The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have, and closeness with the people near me,” he said in a December interview with Tmrw magazine.”
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Credit: Assistant Editor