Gladys Knight will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before this year’s Super Bowl.
The seven-time Grammy Award winner expressed her excitement for the opportunity to sing the anthem in her hometown of Atlanta.
— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019
“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” the 74-year-old singer said in a statement.
The performance will be televised live before kickoff of the Feb. 3 game.
Knight and her backup singers, the Pips, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Her hits include “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”
An NFL news release said Knight will join a long list of notable performers who have sung the Super Bowl national anthem, including Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Mariah Carey, Cher, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Idina Menzel, Aaron Neville, Pink, Jordin Sparks, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross and Vanessa Williams.
Many on social media were happy with the choice.
Outstanding! I may actually watch it this year, just for that! ?
— Muddville Music (@Muddville_Music) January 17, 2019
That’ll be the best part of the evening.
Such a National treasure
— Brenda Musick (@bmusick86) January 17, 2019
So fitting for Gladys Knight to sing the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. An Atlanta native who grew up in an era of discrimination but kept her faith in God to overcome it, will now sing on football’s biggest stage. The “Midnight Train” has come full circle! https://t.co/SlsXpwUJBg
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) January 17, 2019
Others criticized the move, saying Knight should use the opportunity to make a political statement or shouldn’t perform at all.
Well I’m glad they found a true Atlanta person. I do love me some Gladys Knight. And she’s still got pipes. But part of me hopes she wears a @Kaepernick7 shirt. I’m still feeling some kind of way about how the NFL owners have blackballed him.
— karyncollins (@karyncollins) January 17, 2019
I love Gladys Knight! I don’t agree with any black person singing the NA! The NA doesn’t stand and wasn’t made for black people!
— Cherese Rose (@ChereseRose1) January 17, 2019
— Scott Crawford (@onedayaway) January 17, 2019
In her statement, the singing legend acknowledged the NFL’s social justice efforts in the wake of the national anthem protests started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
“The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year,” she said.
Maroon 5 will be joined by Big Boi, Atlanta-based rapper from Outkast, and Travis Scott during the halftime performance.
CBS broadcasts this year’s Super Bowl from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.