Sheryl Lee Ralph brought down the house as she blessed the Super Bowl pregame show with her performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” today (Feb. 12). The veteran actress looked as regal as ever as she donned a red jumpsuit with gold accents and matching gloves. She was accompanied by background singers who all wore white.
Before the festivities began, the Dreamgirl tweeted, “[One hundred and twenty-three] years ago today, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ was performed publicly for the [first] time. Today I will sing it for the [first] time as part of the Super Bowl pre-game show in the stadium!” In 2020, the NFL incorporated the culturally revered anthem into the pregame ceremonies during Week 1 of the regular season.
123 years ago today Lift Every Voice and Sing was performed publicly for the 1st time. Today I will sing it for the 1st time as part of the @SuperBowl pre game show in the stadium! pic.twitter.com/Mh805zQbX5
— sheryl lee ralph (@thesherylralph) February 12, 2023
The record begins with, “Lift every voice and sing/ ’Til earth and heaven ring/ Ring with the harmonies of Liberty/ Let our rejoicing rise/ High as the listening skies.” The song was originally a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in the 1800s. By 1905, it was set to music by James’ brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and was first performed by 500 school children in segregated Jacksonville, Florida, in celebration of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” gained prominence during the civil rights movement and has since been widely recognized as “The Black National Anthem.”
The “Abbott Elementary” breakout star was one of three acts enlisted to kick off the big game’s opening ceremony. Country singer Chris Stapleton performed the national anthem, and Grammy Award-winning legend Babyface sang “America the Beautiful.”
Ralph spoke with Apple Music about the moment she got the call about performing at the most watched sporting event of the year. As she laughed, Ralph recalled, “First of all, they said, ‘Just got a call [that] they would like you to sing at the Super Bowl.’ I said, ‘What! Yes!’ Just like that… thrilled. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be singing at the Super Bowl. What is it, 100 million people in the audience? Yeah, just a little small thing, you know.”
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— Aryah Lester (@aryahelle) February 12, 2023
omg i didn’t know sheryl lee ralph was opening the super bowl, what a beautiful surprise, such an icon
— emilia | unlost films (@unlostfilms) February 12, 2023
— TheRealMichelle (@Michiiboo01) February 12, 2023
Hold that note Sheryl Lee Ralph!!!#SuperBowl
— Mario J. Radford (@mariojradford) February 12, 2023
— Shelly Elle (@ShellyElle3) February 12, 2023
— 𝒥-𝑅𝑒𝓁𝓁: 𝐼 𝒩𝑒𝑒𝒹 𝒲𝒾𝓃𝓈 𝒮𝒵𝒩 🏀 (@rell2tru) February 12, 2023
— Ryan (@RyanForEQUALITY) February 12, 2023
Go ahead Auntie Sheryl Lee Ralph! #SuperBowl
— Shanta Covington (@ShantaCovington) February 12, 2023
Sheryl Lee Ralph can sanggggg!#SuperBowl
— Daniela. 🐧 (@allegraxo_) February 12, 2023
Sheryl Lee Ralph going off wow #SuperBowl
— Yung Martinelli (@KeemWorldPeace) February 12, 2023
— jen 🖤 (@jennifernaluz1) February 12, 2023
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