Flashback to When We Were United: Whitney Houston's Legendary 1991 Super Bowl Nat'l Anthem


While arguments continue to intensify over the need to include a special “black national anthem” during this year’s Superbowl LVII, it bears remembering a simpler time when America was more united.

That was no doubt the case back in 1991 when the legendary Whitney Houston delivered her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Rolling Stone crowns Houston’s 1991 performance at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida, as the No. 1 most memorable Super Bowl halftime performance of all time.

“Still the gold standard for all Super Bowl performances more than 30 years later, Whitney Houston’s prerecorded version of the National Anthem stands as one of the most stunning moments in NFL history,” the music magazine declared in an article published Sunday.

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“It’s gone down in history as of her most beloved performances.”

The legendary singer’s performance was incredibly skilled and soulful. It no doubt crossed political and cultural boundaries.

It represented an America that was finally ready to live up to its founding promises of equality.

But the divisive world we now found ourselves in likely wouldn’t appreciate Houston’s performance today.

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Heck, the very same racialized left that now controls our conversations in pop culture, the media and politics once criticized Houston for not being “black enough.”

Conservative radio host Larry Elder explained the situation quite well in a 2012 syndicated column published shortly after Houston’s death at the age of 48:

“…Houston also struggled with something else that black Republicans and black non-Democrats can understand: ridicule and ostracism for ‘selling out,’ or ‘acting white,’ or not being “black enough,” Elder wrote.

“Ebony, the black monthly magazine, wrote about the then-27-year-old: ‘Black disc jockeys have chided her for “not having soul” and being “too white.”‘”

Today, this kind of racist rhetoric is mainstream.

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If Houston were to give such a performance today, no doubt those criticisms would be even more prominent and spouted off by every member of the mainstream left.

Writers for The New York Times and The Washington Post would be suggesting her so-called “whiteness” was problematic.

Democratic politicians and left-wing academics would be criticizing her for singing the American national anthem rather than the so-called “black national anthem.”

The left would hate Houston for one simple reason: She represents the American dream and her rendition of that dream’s musical tribute is beautiful.

If only we could go back to the days when Americans were judged not by their skin color, but by the content of their character. Before the days when the poison of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” infected mainstream American politics.

As long as the anti-American Black Lives Matter movement is allowed center stage in American politics, as long as Democrats refuse to denounce the movement for the far-left racist radicalism it promotes, those days will remain a distant memory.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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