Conservative Talk Show Host Megyn Kelly Criticized The NFL For Including The Black National Anthem As A Part Of The Super Bowl

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After Grammy winner Andra Day’s stirring rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem, ahead of the Super Bowl game last Sunday, conservative talk show host Megyn Kelly posted “The so-called Black National Anthem does not belong at the Super Bowl. We already have a National Anthem and it includes EVERYONE,” on X.

U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) also took to X with his criticism, writing “Wife: Today is the Super Bowl! Me: We aren’t watching. Wife: Why? Me: They’re desecrating America’s National Anthem by playing something called the “Black National Anthem.” Wife: Does that mean Cardi is performing?”

The outrage and negative responses are somewhat predictable, especially given the similar aftermath from last year. But why are people mad about a song? As The Independent wrote, “[t]he existence of a Black national anthem is the assertion of Black agency, a declaration of pride and autonomy from white power structures that Republicans cannot countenance because they cannot even countenance the legal equality of Black Americans.”

Last year Sheryl Lee Ralph became the first Black person to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the Super Bowl, which was also “the first time the song…had been performed during the broadcast.”

Conservative Talk Show Host Megyn Kelly Criticized The NFL For Including The Black National Anthem As A Part Of The Super Bowl
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 12: Actress/Singer Sheryl Lee Ralph performs Lift Every Voice and Sing ahead of Super Bowl LVII kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

In response to Kelly, the Emmy-award winning actress said, “That woman is amazing,” on Tooning Out The News, The Daily Beast reported. Not unlike the titular character she plays on Abbott Elementary, Ralph then schooled Kelly about the song’s legacy and importance.  

“That song, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is 123 years old,” said Ralph. “And it was written to commemorate the birthday of our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. The fact that people want to feel divided by such sentiment and such lyrics—it tells you that there are some people in the country, in the world… I guess there’s nothing that will ever truly make them happy until America is no longer the home of the free and the brave.”

But not everyone was incensed by Kelly’s comments. Black sports analyst Stephen A. Smith came to her defense on Monday. Smith admitted that this might not be a popular perspective, but during “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” Smith warned against citing racism. “You don’t know that about her. And when you say something like that, you dilute the potency and the importance of the argument,” Smith said.

Conservative Talk Show Host Megyn Kelly Criticized The NFL For Including The Black National Anthem As A Part Of The Super Bowl
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 07: Stephen A. Smith speaks on SiriusXM at Super Bowl LVIII on February 07, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

“I’m sick and tired of folks out there — particularly in the Black community — being so quick to throw out the word ‘racism.’ When you throw out the word ‘racism,’ do me a favor,” continued Smith. “Have more evidence before you do it, so it can’t be dismissed via plausible deniability or something else.”

“I don’t find her statement to be racist. I find it to be, in her eyes, patriotic. I find it to be, in her eyes, self-righteous. I find her to be a bit detached from reality being faced by Black Americans everywhere,” Smith added. “I got that part, but I can’t go in the way that I wanted to go in about her when people are out there, from my community, just throwing out the word ‘racist.’ You don’t know that about her.”

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