The NFL has announced who will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII next month. The “Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight, will sing the tune, following Pink last year.
Knight won seven Grammy awards and is known for songs like “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.” Knight hails from Atlanta, Georgia, the site of this year’s Super Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz stadium. The NFL interviewed Knight about her singing the anthem this year, and she says she hopes the anthem carries even more weight this year given the controversy and discussion about racial inequality and Colin Kaepernick.
Knight expanded in an interview with Variety, telling the site that she’s saddened by the current climate and how the anthem is entangled in it.
“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she said. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.
“I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good–I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”
She added: “I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us.”
In other Super Bowl LIII news, it was recently confirmed that Maroon 5 will headline the halftime show, with Big Boi and Travis Scott also set to appearing as supporting acts. Jay-Z, Cardi B, and Rihanna said no to performing at the Super Bowl as a show of solidarity with Kaepernick. Kaepernick made headlines when he kneeled during the National Anthem in protest of the racial inequality in the United States, and he hasn’t played professionally since 2017.
Scott told Billboard that he only agreed to performing at the Super Bowl if the football league agreed to make a donation to an organisation fighting for social justice. Scott himself donated $500,000 to Dream Corps.
Super Bowl LIII takes place on Sunday, February 3, from Atlanta, Georgia. You can watch the game on TV or stream it through CBSSports.com.
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