Super Bowl 57 Is the Blackest, Most Woke Super Bowl Ever
Mike Freeman, USA Today, February 12, 2023
The Blackest, most woke Super Bowl ever — can’t believe I wrote that since this is the Republican NFL, but here we are — started by again featuring the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” this time performed by Sheryl Lee Ralph.
“America only has ONE NATIONAL ANTHEM,” tweeted Lauren Boebert, leaning heavily on her all-caps key. “Why is the NFL trying to divide us by playing multiple!? Do football, not wokeness.”
Then Rihanna performed at halftime. Despite once saying she wouldn’t perform in the Super Bowl halftime show because of the way the NFL treated Colin Kaepernick and protesting players, she was back, and make no mistake, Rihanna is one of the Blackest, proudest performers of our time.
But wait, it gets Blacker.
Singer Babyface, a generational rhythm and blues singer, sang “America the Beautiful” before the game. He’s produced dozens of R&B hits and won 12 Grammy Awards.
At this point we had the Black national anthem, Rihanna performing and two Black starting quarterbacks for the first time ever. During Black History Month. This wasn’t the Super Bowl. This was Wakanda.
To some, the NFL is trying too hard to satisfy people of color and the woke mob. (Does anyone have a home base for the woke mob so I can visit?) But even if you know the NFL just a little bit, I mean a teensy-weensy bit, the league is only partially doing that.
The NFL has some of the most conservative owners in all of sports. This is an ownership group that blackballed Kaepernick and did everything possible to stifle his protest movement until the horrific murder of George Floyd in 2020 forced them to acknowledge it. That’s when commissioner Roger Goodell said on video: “Black Lives Matter.”
What the league has actually done is take incremental steps to this place, and even those steps actually aren’t a huge deal. Singing the Black national anthem is miniscule progress.