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Gladys Knight will be singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIII in February. The announcement comes just days after Travis Scott and Big Boi were confirmed to be performing along with Maroon 5 at this year’s halftime show.
Following the news that Atlanta-native soul singer Gladys Knight will perform the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, the star is speaking out about Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling and the slew of controversy surrounding the NFL in recent years.
Knight, an icon who actually lived through the civil rights movement, blasted Kaepernick’s decision to drag the national anthem into his protest in response to a question from Variety.
“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.”
Knight went on to express her deep desire for her performance of the National Anthem will bring Americans of all colors together on Super Bowl Sunday.
“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,” 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.”
The star concluded her statement saying she hopes the confusion of the two messages can blend into one lesson of unity for America, which she hopes to kickstart when she sings the anthem at the Super Bowl.
Kaepernick has played a part in the ongoing Super Bowl debate, even from outside the NFL. It was previously revealed that he spoke with rapper Travis Scott before he agreed to perform alongside Maroon 5 at the Atlanta game.
Scott, 26, reportedly consulted with Kaepernick before confirming the appearance. The two didn’t agree on Scott performing but came away with a mutual understanding over why he would be performing.