The Empress of Soul is back in Georgia — and she probably didn’t have to take a midnight train to get there.
Dressed in a dazzling white outfit, Gladys Knight kicked off Super Bowl LIII by belting an elegant rendition of the national anthem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta this Sunday (Feb. 3). Pink, Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga and Idina Menzel have all sung the anthem before the game in recent years.
Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner behind Billboard Hot 100 chart-toppers like “Midnight Train to Georgia” (released as Gladys Knight & the Pips), has previously said in a statement that she saw the opportunity to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner“ as a chance to “unite and represent our country.”
Knight said in an interview with NBC’s Today earlier this week that she considered joining a boycott of the NFL over its treatment of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who is currently suing the NFL. (Cardi B, for instance, has said she turned down a chance to perform at this year’s Super Bowl in solidarity with Kaepernick.)
“Everybody got their opinions about whatever it is,” she said in the interview, ”but once we get into that love thing, it all just comes together and just goes wherever and we end up clapping and having a good time.”
In a video that accompanied the announcement of her national anthem performance, Knight spoke about the racism she experienced coming up in her career and her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.
“I hope that this anthem will touch people in a different way,” she said. “We’ve been singing it forever. But this time I would hope that they would feel it so deeply that it would lift them to a higher place. That’s what I feel when I sing this song.”