Despite backlash, Gladys Knight is sticking by her decision to perform at Super Bowl LIII.
The seven-time Grammy Award-winner, who's best known as the "Empress of Soul," came under fire earlier this week after it was revealed she will sing the National Anthem at SB LIII in spite of the on-going NFL boycott sparked by Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests. Gladys addressed the criticism directly in a response to Variety’s question about her stance on the NFL’s treatment of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who was allegedly blackballed by the league after spearheading the kneeling movement in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.
"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice," she wrote in her statement. "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."
Gladys continued: "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, 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."
"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it," she added. "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."
Gladys isn't the only Super Bowl performer receiving backlash. As previously reported, Maroon 5 is headlining this year's Super Bowl halftime show, and have called upon Travis Scott and Big Boi to join as special guests. Travis though has taken the most heat for agreeing to perform alongside Maroon 5. Many felt that by the "SICKO MODE" rapper agreeing to perform, he was overlooking the NFL's alleged blackballing of Colin.
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