The National Football League is easily the most popular sport in the entire United States. They know this, we know this, but it does not mean they will not try and take advantage of things to save some money.
The Super Bowl — the grand daddy of them all that brings together a ton of different fan bases as well as celebrities to watch the annual game — is being blasted this week after professional dance artist and activist Taja Riley posted screenshots on Instagram from dancers around the industry who were asked to “volunteer for free” as field performers for the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show.
Riley, who has worked with Janet Jackson, Beyonce, and Rihanna, showed emails allegedly sent by a Super Bowl coordinator. The dancer wrote that a casting manager wanted “predominantly African American movers,” although the field performers would be doing “very little dance.”
What’s even crazier is the schedule calls for them to be used for nine days of work with a total of 72 working hours between rehearsals and day-of performance. Seven of these days include 8+ hour rehearsals and nobody will be compensated for their time. The email also stated that all rehearsals are mandatory and that participants will be expected to provide their own transportation to all rehearsals and events.
“The show may be at halftime, but any dance artist participating should be PAID IN FULL! (Swipe). Over the last couple days many of my dance artist friends received a casting email, or DM via their agent, friend, or the Super Bowl Coordinator @kristannesta , asking if any dance artists (with emphasis on pre-Dominantly African American Movers), would be interested to “volunteer for free” as talent for the Super Bowl Halftime show. I’m sure I don’t have to explain but the Super Bowl is the most PROFITABLE GLOBAL SPORTING EVENT ON ANY GIVEN YEAR.
Why be cheap, especially on such an incredibly important performance honoring, + showcasing African American talent? I’m wondering how many ppl involved are aware of this ask, + are willing to wield their power adding budget to include paying their qualified talent 4 their time, effort, + skill set. @jessecollinsent @fatima_noir @pepsi @superbowl2022 @sagaftra @officialfrandrescher
Based on All the info listed above, here are things that I find fishy: asking to sign an NDA b4 learning how the “volunteers” will be utilized, work exertion hours + “volunteering period”, having to pay your own transportation/food, not knowing who will be handling/directing the “volunteers”. And last but certainly not least —> agents allowing for their signed talent to even consider doing this. @blocla
In previous yrs The Super Bowl has been known to pull in locals to volunteer as concert go-ers but To qualify as a “volunteer”, production CANNOT require them to learn any choreography, unless they must be PAIDDDD. dance artists that are looking to move forward w/ this: i resonate w/ wanting to elevate the resume, but I don’t think it’s cool for big budget productions (approved by the union) to take advantage of newer dance artists when it concerns “exposure”. Posting this in hopes that we can improve this situation for them + raise awareness to prepare future dance artists to receive specificity in deliverables prior to signing paperwork.”
Every single year, the Super Bowl can bring in between $30 to $130 million for host cities as people from around the country are going to take flight and spend whatever just to say they were at the Super Bowl or the parties that come with it.
Not to mention, the Super Bowl ticket itself can cost well into the thousands for simple nosebleed seats. Basically, the NFL clearly has the money to pay, but won’t do so as long as dancers continue to take these jobs every year for free, hoping to get minimal exposure.