Andra Day has officially added herself to a historic line of annual pre-Super Bowl performances by singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the 2024 Super Bowl, this year held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Taking to the field just minutes ahead of this year’s kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the Grammy winner was joined by six backup singers whose voices — just as the song’s title suggests — empowered her own. “Lift every voice and sing,” she belted, skillfully adding agile runs to various notes, “Till earth and heaven ring/ Ring with the harmonies of liberty.”
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written by civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson in 1900. The hymn is often referred to as the “Black national anthem” as the “lyrics eloquently captured the solemn yet hopeful appeal for the liberty of Black Americans,” and it was “prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s,” according to the NAACP.
Day is just the second Black artist in history to perform the ballad on a Super Bowl field before kickoff, following Sheryl Lee Ralph‘s stunning take on “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at State Farm Stadium in 2023. Two years prior, Alicia Keys launched the tradition by singing the anthem in a pre-recorded video that aired during the 2021 Super Bowl broadcast, the year after which Mary Mary did the honors from outside SoFi Stadium.
The “Rise Up” singer’s pre-game performance preceded Post Malone’s rendition of “America the Beautiful” and Reba McEntire’s national anthem. Usher will headline the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show.