The pregame show also included Post Malone performing “America the Beautiful” and Reba McEntire performing “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Super Bowl LVIII began not with a ball on a field, but with the voices of three musicians ringing out across Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Prior to Post Malone performing “America the Beautiful” and Reba McEntire delivering “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Grammy-winning and Academy Award-nominated singer and actress Andra Day presented a stunning rendition of the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The audience in Las Vegas and millions watching from home were treated to Day’s performing, backed by an adept chorus of singers. Dressed in a beige overcoat, Day’s powerful vocals echoed beautifully as she recited the lyrics: “Lift every voice and sing/’Til earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty.” The song was also be performed in American sign language by Shaheem Sanchez.
Last year, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was performed at the pre-game ceremony by actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who made history as the first Black person to perform the song on the field before the Super Bowl. Day follows in her footsteps as the spiritual reaches beyond the community it was created within.
“You know, I’m nervous, I’m excited — it’s all the feelings,” Day told Associated Press ahead of the game. “But I think for me, it’s inspiring because I’m looking forward to the day that the Black national anthem — or anthems that represent other people, or a universal anthem that represents everyone — is not such a conversation, but it is the future’s norm. It’s exciting.”
Day’s performance was produced and arranged by Adam Blackstone, who also produced and arranged the night’s national anthem. “Sometimes we have to alter things to make sure that people are respected, [when it comes to] language and stuff like that. So it is definitely us navigating through the music and through some other things,” he told Rolling Stone last year about crafting the music of multiple halftime show performances as music director. “But I’ve also learned that music helps push culture forward, and we’re literally fitting a concert into the biggest game of the year. Sometimes people end up tuning in just to see that concert, so I’m thankful to be a part of that.”