Legendary soul singer Gladys Knight said she is here to 'give the Anthem back its voice' after announcing Thursday she will perform the 'Star Spangled Banner' at the Super Bowl in her hometown of Atlanta. The longtime civil rights activist faced heat for accepting the gig after many performers and fans are opting to boycott the NFL due to their treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
I don’t know much about Gladys Knight’s politics, but I do know that she’s a freedom-loving patriot.
The Motown legend generated headlines across the country when she announced that she would be performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
“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,” she wrote in a statement to Variety.
She also called out those who have been trying to score cheap political points by disgracing the "Star Spangled Banner."
“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 stand alone,” she wrote.
Kaepernick sparked national outrage in 2016 when he began taking a knee during the national anthem. The now former National Football League quarterback said he was blacklisted as a result of his protest.
And many of Kaepernick’s supporters were furious over Ms. Knight’s decision to perform at the Super Bowl.
AOL News compiled a list of angry and hateful comments directed at the legendary singer, accusing her of selling out.
“Gladys Knight is now against Colin Kaepernick,” one angry person wrote on Twitter. “You’re too old not to know better. Why would you perform at the NFL? I’m disappointed in you.”
“You know they only want a token to take the focus off their racism,” another Kaepernick fan raged.
Ms. Knight’s decision to perform is especially bold considering that most high-profile musical artists are boycotting the big game to kneel in solidarity with Kaepernick.
US magazine reports that singers do not want to be associated with the NFL until the disgraced quarterback gets a job. So far — only Maroon 5 and a rapper I’m unfamiliar with have agreed to perform.
Billboard Magazine says Adele, Jay-Z and Pink refused invitations. So did Rihanna, proving when it comes to supporting our military and saluting the flag – America's entertainment industry will always take a knee.
Even Cardi-B – a self-described disciple of Senator Bernie Sanders – took a pass. To be honest, I’d rather sit through Nickelback concert before I’d listen to a tone-deaf, foul-mouthed socialist who once called Bernie Sanders daddy.
OK, well maybe not Nickelback, but you get my point.
Comedian Amy Schumer urged musicians to boycott the Atlanta Super Bowl — writing on Instagram: “Stand up for your brothers and sisters of color…the hottest thing a guy can do is get down on one knee."
Ms. Knight has dismissed her critics and stands firm on her decision.
“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,” she wrote.
I reckon if anyone can accomplish that task, it’ll be Gladys Knight.
And I suspect football fans will all enjoy the soulful sounds of an American patriot instead of a bunch of flag-hating, auto-tuned, lip-syncers.