The 57th Super Bowl was one for the history books. The big game marked the first time both starting quarterbacks were Black, the first time two brothers played against one another, and featured the first all-female flyover before the game.
It was also the first time that “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” widely known as the Black national anthem, was performed live before the game. (Two years ago, the National Football League began airing recordings of the song before the Super Bowl.)
Conservative influencers and outlets are outraged.
In their minds, Sheryl Lee Ralph singing the 123-year-old hymn on the anniversary of its first performance before the Super Bowl is an affront to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was performed by country music star Chris Stapleton just before kickoff. They don’t seem to take any issue with Babyface crooning “America the Beautiful” before the National Anthem.
A Twitter user whose bio boasts about “making liberals cry” wrote “this bullshit about Black national anthem is a damn disgrace.”
Right-wing influencer Wayne DuPree said that the song “means a lot but it’s not a National Anthem.”
Charlie Kirk, who is possibly the whitest person in America, opined, “There should not be a Black national anthem.”
Former West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans, who was convicted of a felony for his role in the Capitol riot, blathered on Twitter that “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the “ONLY National Anthem.”
Matt Walsh, who is known for his transphobic views, added a totalitarian twist to his take, tweeting, “No other country on Earth is ridiculous enough to permit different racial groups to perform their own national anthems before major events.”
Far-right outlet the Gateway Pundit complained that airing a performance of a song written by Floridian brothers James Weldon and J. Rosamond Johnson before the Super Bowl was “divisive.”
The conservative outrage machine ratcheted up higher and higher.
The NFL has not commented on the controversy, opting instead to celebrate the triumph of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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*First Published: Feb 13, 2023, 10:05 am CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.