Once upon a time, the Super Bowl was one of entertainment’s most anticipated events of the year. Being chosen to perform, be it at the half time show or to lead the national anthem, was an opportunity many artists covet. And fans would look forward to the performances, which have always been spectacular and unforgettable.
But in recent times the Super Bowl has become very controversial, after the NFL was put under fire for their decision to ban Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the Anthem. And th artists who agree to perform have likewise been put under fire.
So when legendary singer Gladys Knight was announced to be performing the National Anthem at the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl, many questioned her involvement as well as her stance on the Colin Kaepernick issue.
Now, the queen has spoken.
Ms. Knight released a statement to Variety, eloquently explaining her stance and her motivation. In her impassioned message, she said:
“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice. 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.
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.”