Sheryl Lee Ralph delighted the Super Bowl audience on Sunday when she stepped onto the field at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — also known as the “Black National Anthem.”
Dressed in an off-the-shoulder red and black ensemble, the Emmy-winning actress and Broadway star began her performance just before Super Bowl LVII kicked off between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Abbott Elementary actress teased her appearance on Twitter Sunday afternoon, writing: “It is no coincidence that I will be singing the Black National Anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ at the Super Bowl on the same date it was first publicly performed 123 years ago (February 12, 1900). Happy Black History Month!”
Related Story: Rihanna Wows With Super Bowl Halftime Show and Reveals Pregnancy (Video)
[Watch Sheryl Lee Ralph perform below]
.@thesherylralph with an incredible rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing". #SBLVII pic.twitter.com/3iho2kTssr
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2023
The iconic song is a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900, according to the NAACP. Weldon’s brother, John Rosamond Johnson, composed the music. In 1919, the NAACP began calling the song the “The Black National Anthem,” for its power in voicing a cry for freedom for African Americans.
Following Sheryl Lee Ralph, 12-time Grammy winner Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds performed “America the Beautiful.” Country music artist Chris Stapleton sang the National Anthem and Oscar-winning actor Troy Kotsur offered an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the National Anthem on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). Kotsur starred in the Apple TV+ film CODA and last year became only the second deaf person to win an Academy Award.