Sheryl Lee Ralph’s performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the 2023 Super Bowl makes history
Sheryl Lee Ralph gave a powerful performance of her song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at Super Bowl 2023 on Sunday (Feb. 12) from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
She did so with the help of a backup choir and American Sign Language performer Justina Miles, and instead of going to church, she took everyone in the stadium and the 100 million people who are expected to watch the game at home.
She exclaimed, referring to the upbeat lyrics, “Let our rejoicing rise/ High as the listening skies.” The Emmy-winning Abbott Elementary actress looked like a winner in a magnificent off-the-shoulder red and black jumpsuit with matching puffy gloves hours before either the Philadelphia Eagles or Kansas City Chiefs would be named the evening’s winners.
According to the NAACP, James Weldon Johnson’s hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is frequently referred to as the “Black national anthem” because the song’s “lyrics eloquently captured the solemn yet hopeful appeal for the liberty of Black Americans” and “prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.”
On game day, Ralph became the first Black person to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on the field prior to the Super Bowl, making history. During the Super Bowl primetime telecast two years ago, Alicia Keys became the first person to perform the national anthem in a pre-recorded video. In the previous year, Mary Mary performed in front of the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.