UNITED STATES—R&B singer, Gladys Knight is singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, February 3.
Gladys Knight and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Knight has won seven Grammy Awards, had 11 #1 R&B singles, and two number one Billboard Hot 100 singles. She is known for the songs “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”
The Daily Wire reported Knight received pushback for agreeing to sing the anthem amidst the controversy involving former NFL star Colin Kaepernick who kneeled for the National Anthem during the SF 49ers’ final preseason game in 2016. Kaepernick’s move led to other NFL players and referees kneeling during the anthem.
Some people boycotted the NFL noting that kneeling during the anthem was a sign of disrespect to American soldiers who fought for the country. Others have shown support for the kneeling considering the anthem a form of racism.
“I understand Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight said in a statement that TMZ reported. “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 stand alone.”
The statement continues to read:
“I am here today and on Sunday, February 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for the 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 for 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 Knight continued. No matter who chooses to deflect from this narrative, and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so, and can not be made so by anyone speaking it. I pray that the 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.”