Reba McEntire performed a soulful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” at the 2024 Super Bowl on Sunday. But before the country music star took the stage, Grammy-winner Andra Day delivered a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – the so-called Black national anthem.
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Blain Crain, Jake Crain, and David Cone, hosts of The Daily Wire’s Crain & Company, to discuss the NFL’s recent tradition of featuring the song in its pre-game celebrations and why they believe it is a “divisive” practice.
James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has a long history overall, but the hymn has a relatively short history at the Super Bowl. Originally written in 1899, the song has now been featured four times at the big game.
Alicia Keys performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in a pre-recorded video that aired before the 2021 Super Bowl. Earlier in the 2020-2021 season, the song was reportedly played before all week one games to “amplify work done by its players and the families who are trying to address social justice issues” in the wake of the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
At Super Bowl LVI in 2022, Mary Mary sang the song outside SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Last year, Sheryl Lee Ralph did the honors, performing on the field prior to Chris Stapleton’s rendition of the National Anthem. The NFL chose to go a similar route at Super Bowl LVIII. Day was on the field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas prior to kickoff to deliver her version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
In Megyn’s view, the fledgling tradition is “not necessary” and she is “sick of” it. “Played in this context, it’s divisive,” she explained. “There’s one National Anthem for all of us… and it’s really a middle finger to the country and to those of us who love each other irrespective of skin color to try to divide us by race when we get to anthems at the Super Bowl.”
While the song may have a unifying name, Blain isn’t so sure it has a unifying effect. “That song says we want to lift everybody’s voices up and yet you are excluding every other race,” he said. “It makes no sense.”
Jake agreed. “We’re this stupid – we think to combat racism, we should look at everything through color… I just don’t know why we do this,” he said. “Where’s the Hispanic national anthem? Where’s the Asian national anthem?”
In Cone’s view, the term ‘Black national anthem’ is a slippery slope. “The first thing we have to do from a marketing perspective is stop calling it the ‘Black national anthem’… because that just gives credence to the idea that, ‘Oh, there are different national anthems,'” he cautioned. “The NFL has found themselves in this tough spot where they’re trying to market to all these demographics and make everyone happy, and you’re not going to make everyone happy.”
He does, however, see a silver lining. “At least you’ve seen the NFL take positive steps on some of the bigger issues, which is no players were kneeling for the National Anthem yesterday,” he concluded. “That seems like it was a specific period of time during the Colin Kaepernick age that is over with – for at least the time being – and the ratings soared because of that.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Crain & Company by tuning in to episode 722 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.