By Amir Vera, Maureen Chowdhury and Deena Zaru, CNN
Sunday’s Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show not only featured some of hip-hop’s biggest artists, but it also saw Eminem take a knee.
The kneeling took place after the rapper performed his 2002 hit “Lose Yourself.” The kneeling gesture became a point of controversy when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick used it as an act of protest against police brutality and racial discrimination.
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was heavily criticized for launching this form of protest during the national anthem at a preseason game in 2016.
Since then, athletes of all sporting levels have knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick and his message.
Eminem has always supported Kaepernick’s efforts. In 2017, at the BET Hip Hop Awards, he performed an explosive 4.5-minute freestyle rap, calling out former President Donald Trump and embracing Kaepernick and his message about racism and police brutality.
The Detroit rapper raised his fist and punched, “F— that’s for Colin, raise your fist and keep that s— balled like Donald the b—-.”
Eminem also included Kaepernick in the lyrics of his 2017 song “Untouchable,” where he rapped, “Somebody’s gotta be the sacrificial lamb…So they call it a Kaepernick crisis…
If you don’t stand up for the national anthem… We’re putting it up, you better rent it.
Sunday’s performance marked the first time that hip-hop artists were the main performers in the halftime show. Alongside Eminem, rappers Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar and R&B singer Mary J. Blige also performed.
The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
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CNN’s Lisa Respers France and Jason Kurtz contributed to this report.