Cicero-North Syracuse Grad Performed in Super Bowl Halftime Show
While more than 100 million Americans were mesmerized by The Weeknd's Super Bowl halftime performance on Sunday, one Central New Yorker was busy earning the opportunity of a lifetime.
You may not have been able to see Keenan Williams' face behind the bandages, but his skilled dance moves were part of the amazing and jarring performance that's been the talk of the Internet ever since.
Williams, a Central New York native who attended Cicero-North Syracuse High School and Onondaga Community College, shared in a Facebook post that while he hadn't been able to share the news with family and friends until after the performance, it was truly the opportunity of a lifetime.
"I’ve been in Tampa for about a week and a half with back to back rehearsals and covid-19 testing every 2 days," Williams wrote. "I’ve been laying low, not going out (shocker, I know) and basically doing everything I can to NOT put myself in jeopardy of losing out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve worked TOO HARD to let this slip or be caught off guard with any form of irrelevance that the devil has tried to throw my way."
The 29-year-old told Syracuse.com that he currently works as a member of the Orlando Magic's professional hype team, and applied for the Super Bowl job online after a co-worker shared a link online.
"Crazy how life works out...If you had told me over 10 years ago or even 2 years ago that I would dance in an NBA Half time show and then a year later that I would be dancing and performing in front of MILLIONS of people on NATIONAL TV in the NFL HALF TIME SUPER BOWL, I would have looked at you dead in the face and died laughing, and now look. Tsss wild," Williams wrote. "I’ve literally had dreams about opportunities like this, and yet, here we are, look at god."
So what was up with all those bandages? Williams told Syracuse.com that the bandages (paired with white face masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19) alluded to The Weeknd's recent music videos, which feature the singer with plastic surgery gone-wrong.
"As artists we try to put things in a very visual way for our audience to understand," Williams told Syracuse.com. "It’s basically teaching a lesson in Hollywood about how absurd and obsessed people in Hollywood [are] in trying to manipulate themselves for superficial purposes."
Williams' Super Bowl appearance was an emotional moment for more reasons than one. The past couple months of the pandemic have taken their toll, as Williams lost his grandfather to COVID on Christmas Eve and his mother was hospitalized shortly after when she and Williams' father tested positive, Williams told Syracuse.com.
Luckily, his mother was released from the hospital just before the Super Bowl and is now recovering at home, the "highlight" of the whole experience for Williams.
“It was to make sure my mom was healthy enough to see me perform," Williams told Syracuse.com. "I’m glad that my mom was able to watch."
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