Gladys Knight is hitting back at her critics.
The music legend released a statement to USA Today Friday after some fans bashed her decision to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII next month in Atlanta.
After Knight announced the gig on Twitter earlier this week, supporters of the #TakeAKnee movement called her several choice names and said she should “know better.”
But instead of backing down, the former Motown singer released a statement defending her choice, and reminded critics that she has spent many years fighting for civil rights.
“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,” she said.
The message continued: “I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 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,” Knight added.
The singer concluded her argument by expressing hope that the national anthem “will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward.”
Read More: Gladys Knight Will Perform National Anthem at Super Bowl LIII
The 74-year-old entertainer — who happens to hail from Atlanta — isn’t the only star catching heat for aligning with the event.
Many people slammed rapper Travis Scott after he signed on in December to perform at the Super Bowl, including rapper-actor Common.
“I love Travis Scott, but I really don’t want us supporting none of that stuff, and I respect Rihanna — more than anything, I respect people like Rihanna who said they ain’t gonna support that,” Common told TMZ Wednesday about the situation. “But, you know, Travis [is] doing what he gotta do. … I feel like, man, I wish he wouldn’t.”
Super Bowl LIII is set to air on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 PM ET.