Justin Madubuike, Chris Jones

Social Media In A Frenzy Over Black National Anthem At This Year’s Super Bowl

The NFL's announcement of performances for Super Bowl LVIII has generated mixed reactions in response to the Black national anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

The NFL’s recent announcement of its pregame lineup for Super Bowl LVIII, scheduled for February 11, has generated mixed reactions, particularly in response to the inclusion of the performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly known as the Black national anthem, according to FOX News. While the league intended to showcase diversity and pay homage to the African American community, the decision has sparked criticism and debates surrounding national identity and historical context.

The star-studded lineup for the Super Bowl pregame show includes legendary country singer Reba McEntire singing the national anthem, popular modern performer Post Malone, and Grammy-winning R&B singer Andra Day set to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The latter has been a fixture at each Super Bowl since Super Bowl LV, introduced by the NFL in 2020 following the death of George Floyd as part of the league’s response to racial injustice.

The NFL’s decision to feature the Black national anthem has faced backlash, with some expressing confusion and skepticism about the need for a separate anthem. Radio host Larry Elder questioned the inclusion, suggesting alternative anthems and one NFL fan questioned the necessity of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” stating, “Bro, we’re American. Why tf do we need Lift Every Voice and Sing?”

The discussion on social media extended to debates over a hypothetical “White national anthem.” Nikole Hannah-Jones countered such arguments, pointing to Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” and highlighting its historical context, including racist lyrics and its association with a composer who supported slavery.

“The white national anthem is played. It was written by a racist enslaver who believed Black people were inferior and fought abolitionists in the courts,” she emphasized, challenging the notion of needing a separate anthem.

The decision has become a focal point for discussions on national identity, historical awareness, and the implications of incorporating diverse cultural elements into mainstream events. As the NFL navigates these discussions, it remains to be seen how the performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be received during the highly anticipated Super Bowl LVIII.

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