This Sunday, artist Sheryl Lee Ralph performed the Black National Anthem for the first time live at Super Bowl LVII which sparked major criticism on social media.
The NFL decided to mark the start of the big event with the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which is considered to be the black national anthem. This was sung before The Star-Spangled Banner, the actual national anthem of the United States.
The sports league's decision sparked a great deal of controversy, as many believe that the Black National Anthem, instead of uniting the country, has done the opposite.
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2023
One person who reacted to the black anthem was Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert who posted on her official Twitter account that America only has one national anthem.
"Why is the NFL trying to divide us by playing multiple!?" she asked.
The @NFL is making a huge mistake, in my humble opinion, by having "Lift Every Voice and Sing," what has traditionally been referred to as the "black national anthem," sung at the #SuperBowl. What more divisive message could be sent than to suggest we're a nation of two anthems.
— Darrell B. Harrison (@D_B_Harrison) February 9, 2023
Many people supported this view. In fact, political pundit CJ Pearson explained that the national anthem already included all Americans regardless of race, so having a black-only anthem only causes more division.
He also pointed out that the Super Bowl event should seek precisely to unite the entire nation and not separate it along racial lines.
"My 'black' National Anthem is the same anthem I've been singing since I was a child. The same one children of all races have been singing. My National Anthem never needed a color. Do they want racism to die, or do they want to keep finding ways to divide us all?" said police officer and podcast host Zeek Arkham.
The @NFL is going to play a black national anthem before the Super Bowl. Seems racist and divisive.
— Kevin Sorbo (@ksorbs) February 12, 2023
Another participant in the debate was commentator Matt Walsh, who even called it "ridiculous" that different racial groups would perform their own anthems at such an important event.
Kari Lake, the Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate, was among those who spoke out against the performance of the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing." She remained seated during the song.
Kari Lake remained seated during the Black National Anthem pic.twitter.com/LGv6B9BHPw
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 13, 2023
"There is no Black national anthem. There is no White national anthem. There is no Hispanic national anthem. There is only THE National Anthem. God Bless America!" said Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier.