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‘I’ve never felt anything like that’: Michigan native performs at Super Bowl

<i>WXMI</i><br/>From small city to big stage
Willingham, James
From small city to big stage

By Yasmeen Ludy

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    KALAMAZOO, Michigan (WXMI) — From small city to big stage, Havier Hill Roller, a native of Kalamazoo, earned a spot on the Super Bowl halftime show stage. Roller, along with his fraternity brother DJ, had the opportunity to showcase their talents on one of the world’s biggest stages.

“We were a few considered to audition for the Super Bowl and then we were invited to be in the Super Bowl,” he told FOX 17, WXYZ’s Grand Rapids sister station.

He’s been on many stages and performed with several artists, but this experience was one of a kind.

“I’ve never felt anything like that,” he said.

The energy from the crowd and the sight of all the people and phones in the stadium left a lasting impression on him. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to perform alongside Usher and shared that he had cherished one-on-one moments with the artist.

“It was so, so much love, you know, to make sure that Usher didn’t do anything necessarily that would be offensive to the Greek world, to D9 (The Divine Nine), not just the Nupes,” Roller said, referring to his collaboration with Usher and the importance of respecting the Greek community.

As a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Roller represented the organization during the halftime show. He dedicated a significant amount of time to help Usher match the fraternity’s signature moves with the lyrics of the performance.

While performing on the world’s biggest stage, with the most viewers in Super Bowl history, his road to halftime has been a full-time sacrifice.

“Kalamazoo is very easy, like I said, for you to just fall down the wrong path like that. So you got to know what’s best for you,” he said.

Roller kept his course, taking piano lessons, participating in church choirs and even being part of Jeter’s Leaders.

“I can look at points in his life where things could have shifted,” said Mark Hill, Havier’s uncle and manager.

He says it was important to provide a supportive environment to keep his nephew focused and out of trouble.

“Any Black boy, who goes through our public school systems, I always say, is at a risk of being mis-educated at any given time,” Hill said.

Hill and Roller’s mother, Lisa played an instrumental role in guiding Roller’s path and keeping him focused.

“It was all about keeping a young Black man out of trouble and keeping them focused. And I think that was our collaborative effort in his life,” Hill told FOX 17.

Although Roller is now living in Atlanta, he remains proud of his Kalamazoo roots. He hopes to inspire the children back home to believe in themselves and persevere, even when faced with doubt.

Roller’s message to them is simple but powerful: “Don’t quit, believe in yourself.”

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