If you missed Gladys Knight’s rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII, it’s well worth revisiting. Soulful and elegant, the Atlanta native delivered a much-needed performance after years of politically fraught controversy has dogged “The Star Spangled Banner.” With so much ugliness swirling around the song, Knight did a memorable job accentuating its beauty. Hers was a powerful tribute to the country.
Ahead of the big game, Knight told USA Today in a pointed statement she believed it was “unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”
The Motown icon said she was at the Super Bowl “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, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good.”
“I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII,” Knight added.
Full video of the performance can be viewed below, or here on the NFL’s YouTube channel.