Please allow me to preface this article with a quick observation between legendary songbird Gladys Knight, and former lackluster quarterback Colin Kaepernick (a legend within his own mind.)
Legendary songbird Gladys Knight’s acceptance to sing at the 2019 Super Bowl is indicative of who she is as a person.
She’s from a generation who were grateful to have been born in a country where you can achieve great things regardless of your background or your station in life — as long as you persevere.
Colin Kaepernick’s criticism of her acceptance to sing the National Anthem at the 2019 Super Bowl on February 3rd simply illustrates Kaepernick’s continued ignorance of the issues.
Knight was born in an era of extreme discrimination for African Americans, especially those born in the south in the early ’40s. Hooded figures draped in white appeared out of the darkness, there were separate drinking fountains for “whites” and “blacks” and riding in the back of the bus was an everyday occurrence. Young African Americans were fearful of being confronted daily by racist police holding batons, at the ready.
By contrast, Kaepernick was raised by a white family within an upper-middle-class environment, never having experienced what a young Gladys Knight might have endured growing up in rural Georgia the 50’s.
Knight, 74, will kick off the festivities at the 53rd Super Bowl, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, her hometown.
The Grammy Award songbird, however, responded to the growing backlash led by Kaepernick’s criticizing tweets. “I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” she wrote. “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.”
Adding, “I am here today and on Sunday, (February 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. 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.”
Remarkably it wasn’t all that long ago when being invited to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, was considered an honor, legends like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Lada Gaga and Neil Diamond, all took their rightful turn.