The country music star, 38, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams faced off at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Her performance followed Jhené Aiko’s rendition of “America the Beautiful,” while Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and Mary J. Blige will team up to headline the halftime show.
Guyton was backed up by a choir as she belted out the national anthem on Sunday. She displayed her vocal range but made her performance seem effortless from start to finish.
The NFL announced on February 1 that Guyton was set to perform the national anthem. “Look at God,” she tweeted following the news. “I am shook, I am grateful, I am praise dancing. … So excited to be singing the national anthem at #SBLVI on February 13th!”
The “Black Like Me” singer had experience with “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to her Super Bowl rendition. In fact, she told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that she was known as the “national anthem girl” in high school.
“The national anthem is my song,” she elaborated. “The first time I sung it was at a basketball game when I was 13, and I kept my eyes closed the whole time. But then they asked me to sing at every game after that.”
The song is partly responsible for inspiring Guyton to become a musician in the first place. Seeing LeAnn Rimes’ version of the anthem at a baseball game when the Texas native was a child sparked her interest in country music, and listening to Whitney Houston’s interpretation showed her that Black women could thrive in the industry.
“It’s so full circle,” she told the outlet. “It’s really going to show people what I can do, and I hope a lot of fans are going to see me differently.”
Guyton strived to “unite people” with her patriotic performance but also pointed out the ongoing disparity in the U.S.
“I want to be able to proudly wave my American flag and sometimes it’s really difficult to do, watching what’s going on in this country,” she explained. “That doesn’t mean I don’t love it here — it just means we have a lot of work to do. It’s equivalent to me finding success in my musical career: It’s great and fine, but then I am still seeing my Black and brown brothers and sisters, and even white women in country music, not get the same opportunities. Or knowing there are currently kids in food deserts. We all can do better.”
Guyton received her first Grammy nomination for her breakout 2020 single, “Black Like Me.” She released her debut album, Remember Her Name, in September 2021 and is up for three Grammys — including Best Country Album — at the 2022 awards show.
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