Singer Andra Day will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is widely known as the Black national anthem, at the start of the Super Bowl.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” has a short Super Bowl history, but the song itself has been around since 1900, when it was first performed by a choir of 500 schoolchildren in Jacksonville, Florida. It was written by James Weldon Johnson, who considered the piece a hymn.
Johnson, a renowned author, educator, lawyer and civil rights activist, set out to write a poem to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and the piece became a song. His brother, John Rosamond Johnson, composed the music.
Calling the song the Black national anthem has led to some controversy. James Weldon Johnson Foundation president Rufus Jones, however, emphasized that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written and popularized decades before “The Star-Spangled Banner” became America’s national anthem in 1931.
“In Jim Crow America, when everything was ‘separate and equal,’ so to speak, Black folk found their own sources of inspiration,” Jones said.
One of the foremost questions on everyone’s minds as kickoff neared was whether Taylor Swift would in fact grace Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her royal presence.
We now know the answer: Swift was seen arriving ahead of Super Bowl LVIII accompanied by her mother, good friend Blake Lively, and rapper Ice Spice, with whom Swift shared a Grammy nomination earlier this year. The singer sported an all-black ensemble with some silver sparkle — a red-and-white jacket was slung over her shoulder.
Video also showed Swift in a suite hugging Jason Kelce and introducing him to Ice Spice. Another video showed her chatting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Swift’s private jet landed in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, following her four Eras Tour concerts in Toyko, Japan, CBS Los Angeles reported.
With the 17-hour time difference between Japan’s capital and Vegas, it was 1 a.m. Vegas time when she took the stage in Tokyo. After her final song, Swift rushed to a private jet at Haneda Airport. She was able to land back in the U.S. with hours to spare before Sunday’s kickoff.