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Gladys Knight’s pre-Super Bowl national anthem performance was arguably the most anticipated event outside of the game itself, and wow…she did not disappoint!
The Grammy Award-winning singer and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame looked stunning in white as she stood center field in her hometown of Atlanta and delivered one of the most beautiful renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to date. The 74-year old’s performance wasn’t without controversy, though.
Knight’s decision to accept the NFL’s invitation to kick off the big game was met with some criticism as a result of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s grievance filed against the NFL. In the grievance, Kaepernick claims that NFL teams colluded to keep him off the field after he knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick’s attorney stated that performers at Super Bowl LIII are “crossing an intellectual picket line” and “saying to themselves, ‘I care more about my career than whether what I’m doing is right.’” But, Knight wasn’t fazed.
In an interview with TODAY, Knight defended her decision to perform, saying, “I can only say how much I feel … about the country itself and my family, and like I said, those family members of mine that are risking their lives and their futures … to make this a better world, not just a country. So I felt like I could do my part.”
Knight also opened up to ET about her decision to sing the national anthem despite the protests.
The internet lit up with praise for Knight after her performance.
Watch Gladys Knight’s stunning performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the video below.