Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII performance is trending on social media. Several reviewers place it in their all-time top five halftime shows. Even if kids didn’t watch the Super Bowl, they are likely hearing about the splash Rihanna made with her signature anthems, diverse dance troupe, and surprise pregnancy announcement.
As streaming services and radio stations jump on the Rihanna bandwagon with extra plays, listen to her songs together and explore the spiritual themes and messages they offer. The following activities can help get the conversation started. [Use the Super Bowl Halftime Show video or select lyrics from the PDFs in Related Resources if the full audio/video versions seem too ‘adult’ for your children.]
Diamonds Rihanna – Diamonds. With its repeated encouragement to “shine bright like a diamond”, this love song also celebrates personal empowerment and mutual respect. Invite children to create a self portrait that emphasizes the ways they ‘shine’. Provide glitter, metallic paper, and/or gel pens to add shine to their creations.
Umbrella Rihanna – Umbrella (Audio) ft. Jay-Z. This friendship anthem promises companionship and care no matter what happens. Ask children: What challenges and disappointments are you and your friends facing? Once they have named several, open a big umbrella (golf size, if you have one) and stand under it together. Then ask: How could you help each other deal with these things? Encourage them to think of concrete ideas (like an umbrella in the rain) that could make facing difficult situations easier.
We Found Love Rihanna – We Found Love (Lyrics) ft. Calvin Harris. The triumph of love in the face of hopelessness is a clear theme in this song. (The line is repeated no less than 16 times.) Encourage children to identify their own mantras: things they might (or already) repeat to themselves when they are having a tough time. They might even set their mantra to music like Rihanna.
Only Girl (in the World) Rihanna – Only Girl (In The World). Many girls have identified with this song as a call to female empowerment. While there is no ignoring the sexual overtones, the emphasis on deep emotional connection and appreciation for a woman’s equal role in relationships makes this a great song for exploring healthy sexuality. Ask: When do you feel seen and heard in a relationship? How do you want a boyfriend or girlfriend to see you?
Run This Town JAY-Z – Run This Town ft. Rihanna, Kanye West. Black community and power are celebrated in this multi-musician rap song. Rihanna sings the chorus, which some have associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Explore the theme of protest with children. Ask: Who is treated unfairly in our community? What examples of race, gender, or class bias have you seen or heard about? Create a rap that protests against these kinds of unfairness and bias. Or make a poster that expresses how children are resisting their own or others’ oppression.
Lift Me Up Rihanna – Lift Me Up (From Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). While not part of Rihanna’s Super Bowl show, this simple but powerful song is suitable for younger children to explore. Use it as a coloring meditation. Provide crayons, markers, or chalk for kids to draw while they listen. Suggest that they let the music and words guide the colors and shapes they use. Play the song through twice. Then invite children to share about their drawings if they want.