While most of the internet took to praising Reba McEntire’s National Anthem performance from Super Bowl LVIII, the other “anthem” sung before the game drew more controversy. That was the rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often called the “Black National Anthem” by R&B singer, Grammy Award winner, and actress Andra Day.
Unlike with the detractors of Reba, who didn’t like her country twang version of the anthem, the criticism of Day’s performance mainly revolved around the political message many on the right believed to be contained in the NFL’s inclusion of the song. Further, they argued that the National Anthem is meant to unite Americans, so having multiple versions is counterproductive in that it tends to divide rather than unite, however beautiful the singing.
Megan Kelly, for example, the conservative podcast host, wrote about the matter on X. She said, “The so-called Black National Anthem does not belong at the Super Bowl. We already have a National Anthem and it includes EVERYONE.”
That, in turn, sparked a firestorm in the comments section. Some agreed with Kelly, saying things like, “There is only one National Anthem. But media is woke. The NFL is woke. The people are awake and know this will be over one day.” But others disagreed, writing messages such as, “The national anthem wasn’t national until 1931. Racist” and “You mean the National Anthem written while black people were owned as property?”
Others tried to focus on the song’s positive attributes rather than political connotations. One commenter, doing so, noted the song’s Christian roots, writing, “Hate to disagree with you, it isn’t a replacement for the national.anthem, it is am amazing Christian Hymn. ‘God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet, stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand, True to our God,
True to our native land.’ I refuse to be upset that this is being promoted at the Super Biwl.”
In any case, Kelly wasn’t the only prominent conservative on X to take issue with the song’s inclusion. CJ Pearson, an African American state representative candidate from Georgia, wrote, “Before tonight’s Super Bowl, as a young black man and proud American, let me make myself clear: There is only ONE national anthem. As there is only ONE United States of America. And it’s for EVERYONE – white, black, yellow, and even maroon. The Left’s agenda of division isn’t just needless; it’s exhausting.”
Also joining in was Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who joked about the song in a faux, written dialogue with his wife. He posted, “Wife: Today is the Super Bowl! Me: We aren’t watching. Wife: Why? Me: They’re desecrating America’s National Anthem by playing something called the “Black National Anthem.” Wife: Does that mean Cardi is performing?”
Watch Day’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” here:
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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