Known as the Empress of Soul, Motown legend Gladys Knight announced that she will be singing the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, and shared her reasons for accepting the prestigious offer.

In reaction to the controversy started by Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the song, the Atlanta native and civil rights advocate, said in a statement, “it is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

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Knight continued, asserting, “I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”

In an effort to follow through on her promise, the Grammy award winner will create a performance which people have “never before witnessed” so that “we can move forward.” This message is different than many others’ (including those who refused to play the halftime show) as Knight is not taking a definitive side on the issue of kneeling for the Anthem. Instead, the “Midnight Train to Georgia” vocalist wishes to put aside racial tensions and bring the players and viewers together for a celebration of American heritage and love for football.

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