“Atlanta, I’m coming home!” Gladys Knight took to social media Thursday to announce she’ll be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. In light of the backlash over NFL players taking a knee, the homecoming announcement of the singer of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” has unleashed some negative reactions.
— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019
“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” the seven-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee said in a statement, adding, “the NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.” Knight will be the warm-up before Maroon 5’s big halftime show featuring Travis Scott and Big Boi.
After the announcement, one Twitter commenter wrote, “Gladys Knight is now against Colin Kaepernick,” a reference to the former 49ers quarterback, who refused to stand during the national anthem in protest of injustices against African Americans and minorities in the United States, and who has been out of job since 2017. This naysayer is hardly alone in his opinion.
Gladys Knight is now against Colin Kaepernick.
— Sarcastically Correct (@dantedidWHAT) January 17, 2019
Here are some of the other early Twitter reactions to Knight’s gig.
never thought i’d see the day where we had to cancel gladys knight lmao smh
— kelis teas (@majorly_) January 17, 2019
You’re too old not to know better! Why would you perform at the NFL? I’m disappointed in you period.
— volvoblk (@volvoblack) January 17, 2019
Bad enough Gladys Knight is performing at the Super Bowl but she’s singing the exact song Kaepernick kneels to. What a slap in the face
— Ashley K. (@AshleyKSmalls) January 17, 2019
HUH? THIS IS A FOUL MOVE BY HER AND THE NFL! SAD! A SELL-OUT ( GLADYS KNIGHT) PATHETIC TO JUST DESTROY COLIN KAP EFFORTS! AND STRUGGLES!
— J SUPREME (@jsupreme777) January 17, 2019
Gladys Knight is singing the national anthem at the Super Bowel. Shame we gotta cancel her too!
— ɹǝʇɐH ǝǝɟɟoƆ pǝɔI (@MannyBuckley) January 17, 2019
There were similar, if not harsher comments, on her Instagram post. One commenter asked the star if she was “broke or blind” for agreeing to the job. “You know they only want a token to take the focus off their racism right?” Another called her decision “truly disappointing,” and she was also accused of being a “sellout.”
Knight was also asked to rethink her decision or “end up on the midnight train to canceled.”
Knight has been getting love too — after all, she’s a music legend, rising to fame with the Pips in the 1960s. Some of the comments made no mention of the controversy — for instance: “Excellent Choice. Love her!” and “Yes Atlanta royalty” as well as “We’re so glad to have you back home!“ And in some cases, there was excitement and congratulations over the news — but with the hope that she will somehow show respect to Kaepernick while she’s there.
Well I'm glad they found a true Atlanta person. I do love me some Gladys Knight. And she's still got pipes. But part of me hopes she wears a @Kaepernick7 shirt. I'm still feeling some kind of way about how the NFL owners have blackballed him.
— karyncollins (@karyncollins) January 17, 2019
I have been worried about her health since the statement that was made at Aretha Franklin's funeral so I am glad to read that she will be performing. I also l – o – v – e Gladys Knight. If she wore a @Kaepernick7 shirt, I would not be able to contain my joy.
— Deesa Roberts🙏🏽🖖🏽🤟🏽🦄👊🏽 (@DeesaRoberts) January 17, 2019
Some are just protective of Knight.
— DreSmithJr (@DreSmithJr) January 17, 2019
The choice of Super Bowl performers this year has been nonstop drama. Maroon 5 was bashed for agreeing to the do the halftime show after Rihanna and others turned it down out of respect for Kaepernick. While there were reports that Scott had been given the OK from Kaepernick to perform, Kaepernick made it clear that was not the case.
The Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3.
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