Pop superstar and billionaire Rihanna has been announced to be the next headliner of the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday, pushing speculation that her newest album release since 2016 may be around the corner.

The social media accounts of the NFL, Rihanna’s label ROC Nation, the Halftime’s sponsor Apple Music, and Rihanna herself posted a photograph of Rihanna holding up an NFL-branded football, with Apple Music confirming that Rihanna will be the headliner for the upcoming show, according to the Daily Beast.

“IT'S ON. @rihanna will take the stage for the first ever Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show on 2.12.23,” the tweet said.

The announcement is a surprise for many, largely due to Rihanna’s apparent hiatus from music since 2016, when her album “Anti” was released. It also comes as a surprise due to Rihanna’s previous refusal to headline the Super Bowl in 2019 out of support of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NBC News reported.

“I couldn’t dare do that,” Rihanna said in 2019. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Now, after weeks of speculation regarding the Super Bowl Halftime Show headliner, which included fellow pop superstar Taylor Swift, Rihanna’s announcement comes with fanfare not only from her label, but also from the head of the NFL.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage,” NFL Head of Music Seth Dudowsky said. “Rihanna is a once in a generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”

With the upcoming Super Bowl performance on the horizon, many are wondering if this would also line up with a future new album from Rihanna, who has been reportedly working on new music for the past few months. While no announcement has been made regarding it, the artist has shared tidbits of her process regarding the new album.

“I’m looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better,” she said in a recent interview. “It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”

Pop superstar and billionaire Rihanna has been revealed on Sunday as the new headliner for the upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show, sparking rumors of a potential upcoming album. Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images.

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