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Gladys Knight To Perform US National Anthem At Super Bowl

The 74-year-old music legend Gladys Knight has accepted an invitation to perform the Star Spangled Banner at the sporting event, which is being held in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia on 3 February. The news was confirmed this week that the halftime show will be performed by Maroon 5, with rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi supporting.

 

There has been criticism directed at some black artists for failing to show solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapaernick, who has been without a club since 2016 after “taking a knee” during the performance of the anthem in protest against racial injustices. Artists including Rihanna and Cardi B reportedly turned down the show, traditionally seen as a massive opportunity for artists to be seen by a TV audience of hundreds of millions.

 

Gladys is now facing similar criticism but, in a statement to Variety she said she intends 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."

 

The decision has left some fans conflicted, while others believe the star who sang at Aretha Franklin's funeral has earned the right to decide for herself. “I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” added Gladys. “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 each stand alone. "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."

 

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