Fans defend Michelle Williams against critics of national anthem performance

Former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams' jazzy rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" got one surprising thumbs-up: Conservative journalist-author Bill O’Reilly.

Michelle Williams sang America’s national anthem at Thursday night’s NFL kickoff game in Tampa, Florida before the face-off between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The league’s Facebook post announcing Williams as the night’s performer was full of mean comments from football fans, many of whom who wrote they hoped the former Destiny’s Child member would sing the “one and only national anthem.” 

The NFL’s Facebook post announcing singer Michelle Williams (above) as the performer at this week’s Dallas Cowboys-Tampa Bay Buccaneers match-up was full of mean comments from football fans. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Michelle Williams was accompanied by Grammy Award-nominated pianist Cory Henry. She gave a beautiful jazzy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in her signature soprano.

Still, there were some detractors on social media.

“They’re DEAD WRONG for getting Michelle Williams to sing the national anthem,” one Twitter user wrote

“Michelle Williams just butchered the National Anthem,” opined another. 

But many fans quickly jumped to her defense. 

“Michelle Williams gave a very jazzy rendition of the national anthem, but one thang bout it— them high notes still clearing!” one popular tweet read. 

“BeyHive we need to start dragging people for coming for Michelle Williams, the way we drag when someone tries Bey,” someone else contended. “It’s to activate. Cause they are trying sis.” 

In fact, Williams got one major co-sign from conservative journalist and author Bill O’Reilly, who wrote on Twitter: “Excellent rendition of the National Anthem by Michelle Williams in Tampa. Inspiring. Great to see that!” 

O’Reilly’s tweets featured dozens of comments that noted no one was kneeling. 

Williams previously sang the national anthem on a major platform as part of Destiny’s Child when she, Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé sang it at the opening of the NBA All-Star Game in 2006. 

Most recently, Williams released her book, Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life — and Can Save Yours, which documents her mental health journey.

As previously reported, in support of the book, she released some calls back in May between the groupmates, in which they expressed their support for each other.

”It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to tell somebody you’re not okay,” Williams said to her Destiny Child partners. “I honestly should have done that with y’all. I’ve been open about a lot of things, but I was never really truthful about how I really was. Even though y’all have proven to be safe friends, safe sisters, sometimes people have to know you’re not going to be looked at differently if you say, ‘Y’all, I’ve been really sad too long. Something’s going on.’”

In Checking In, Michelle Williams talks about how her faith, family and friends helped her learn to make her mental health a priority.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!