Why The Weeknd’s dancers were wearing white masks at Super Bowl LV

Why The Weeknd’s dancers were wearing white masks at Super Bowl LV


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Weeknd’s dancers wore white masks as a statement on beauty standards. The Super Bowl LV halftime show featured a weird but very cool performance from The Weeknd. Now viewers are wondering why all of his dancers were wearing white masks.
It wasn’t because Super Bowl LV was being played in the middle of a global pandemic, though that would make sense. Here’s why the dancers were wearing the full-face white coverings, the meaning behind them, and much more.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Where did we first see the masks
We first saw the masks in the music videos for The Weeknd’s most recent album, After Hours, released in November 2020. In those videos, he plays a masked character with a busted nose and bandaged face.

That character from his videos also made a few public appearances and led many people to ask about the status of The Weeknd’s face. “Is his face okay? Has he gone under the knife?” Well, after watching the Super Bowl halftime show, it’s clear that his face is okay, but the imagery of the bandaged face was still present through all of his background dancers.

What is the meaning behind the mask?
For The Weeknd, the masks are a social commentary on Hollywood and its ridiculous culture around unnecessary plastic surgery and self-manipulation to keep up with ever-changing beauty standards through self-validation. From Blinding Lights to Save Your Tears, After Hour, and songs in between, you can see The Weeknd’s character fall into crazed madness while chasing happiness in all the wrong places, including in his looks.
When asked why he changed his appearance to promote his album, After Hours, and the message behind it, The Weeknd said, “I suppose you could take that being attractive isn’t important to me, but a compelling narrative is.” Though The Weeknd did not decided to wear the mask for his Super Bowl halftime show performance, he made sure that they, and the message they stand for, were present during his performance.
The masked dancers were more than an aesthetically interesting choice on the part of The Weeknd for his Super Bowl LV halftime performance. They were also more than The Weeknd simply promoting his album. Instead, they were his attempt to genuinely continuing a much-needed conversation on beauty standards, plastic surgery, and self-manipulation for validation. I’d say that’s pretty deep for a halftime show.

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