Addressing the controversy behind her upcoming participation, the Empress of Soul pledges to give ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ back its voice as well as to free it from prejudices and struggles.
Gladys Knight is hoping to give the U.S. National Anthem “back its voice” with her Super Bowl performance.
The 74-year-old soul legend will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3. The news was announced on Thursday, January 17, but was met with some controversy, as some people accused her of siding with the National Football League (NFL) in their fight with ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick is taking legal action against the organisation, after accusing them of blackballing him due to his kneeling during the anthem in protest of police brutality and racism.
However, Gladys insisted in a statement that her decision to take on the anthem performance at the Super Bowl has nothing to do with her political beliefs and everything to do with “using my voice for good.”
“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she said in a statement to Variety. “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.”
Gladys concluded, “No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it. 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.”
Maroon 5, Travis Scott (II) and Big Boi will be taking to the stage during the Halftime Show.
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