Music icon Gladys Knight is standing by her decision to sing the National Anthem before the start of the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3. The soul songstress was slammed across social media by the “take a knee” community who view her participation as a slight to Colin Kaepernick and those who fight against racism and social injustices.
The former San Francisco 49er refused to stand for the National Anthem during the 2016 season. Now he’s at the center of conversation around the Super Bowl halftime show, with many artists — including Rihanna and Pink — refusing to hit the biggest stage of the year as a show of support for the athlete.
Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner, joins a limited halftime show lineup that includes Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi, and Flo Rida. The 74-year-old is a native of Atlanta, where the game will be played, and she agreed to sing the “Star Spangled Banner,” saying she wanted to “give the anthem back its voice” to include Americans advocating for racial justice.
“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,” Knight said in a statement, noting that she doesn’t have to prove her commitment to civil rights.
“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,” she added.
“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,” Knight told TMZ.
Singer Tevin Campbell had a message for her critics on Twitter: “Gladys Knight literally had to walk thru the back doors. She lived thru the “colored” and “whites” only b*llshit. She marched with the civil rights leaders. She does not owe you manure. And she gives 0 f&cks about y’all cancelling. STFU please. Carry on.”
Celebrities have been calling out artists performing on Super Bowl Sunday this year and Complex reported that over 86,000 people have signed a petition asking all halftime performers to drop out of the event.
Gladys Knight literally had to walk thru the back doors. She lived thru the “colored” and “whites” only bullshit. She marched with the civil rights leaders. She does not owe you manure. And she gives 0 f&cks about y’all cancelling. STFU please. Carry on.
— Tevin Campbell (@tevincampbelll) January 18, 2019