Earlier this week, the NFL announced its pregame lineup for Super Bowl LVIII, drawing criticism over its plan to include “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly known as the black national anthem, before the game begins.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” has been played at each Super Bowl since Super Bowl LV and has stirred controversy on social media since that time. It was first played in 2021, after the death of George Floyd. This year, the NFL said the song will be performed by Grammy-winning R&B singer Andra Day.
Radio host Larry Elder was among those to speak out, writing on X, “Sigh… While they’re at it, how about the University of Michigan fight song?”
“Bro, we’re American. Why tf do we need Lift Every Voice and Sing?” one NFL fan wrote in response to ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s post on the NFL’s announcement.
Others wondered if the “White National Anthem” could be played as well, leading to criticism from New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones.
“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 wrote of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” pointing to a 2016 Smithsonian article on the composer.
“It did not become our national anthem until the 1930s partially because the song itself has racist lyrics. You all really should not boast your historical ignorance so loudly in an effort to constantly be aggrieved about the country you remain atop of,” she continued.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” has been promoted as the black national anthem by the NAACP since 1917.
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