Stirs debate on social media

Story by Ryan Gaydos

The NFL announced its pregame lineup for Super Bowl LVIII earlier this week and the league drew criticism over its intentions to have the Black national anthem played before the game.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, has been played at each Super Bowl since Super Bowl LV and has stirred controversy on social media since. This year, the NFL said the song will be performed by Grammy-winning R&B singer Andra Day.

Andra Day arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Jan. 7, 2024. Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images© Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images

Debate on social media

Radio host Larry Elder was among those to speak out. 

“Sigh… While they’re at it, how about the University of Michigan fight song?” he wrote on X.

“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 what would happen if Americans had a “White national anthem.” Nikole Hannah-Jones argued the U.S. already had a “White national anthem.”

Debate on social media

“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.”

The NFL started to play the Black national anthem in the 2020 season following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The incident started a wave of actions against racial injustice across the U.S.

The NAACP began to promote “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the Black national anthem in 1917.

An American flag is displayed on the field as Sheila E. performs the national anthem before the New England Patriots and Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 15, 2023 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Additionally, Reba McEntire was tapped for the national anthem and Post Malone was picked for “America the Beautiful.”

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