Gladys Knight on why she'll sing the anthem at Super Bowl

Rob Latour  Shutterstock View View 14

Rob Latour Shutterstock View View 14

Gladys Knight will be singing the National Anthem before kick-off for Super Bowl LIII, between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams; the 2019 Super Bowl is taking place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Gladys Knight was born on May 28, 1944, which means she is 74 years old; she was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

With No. 1 hits in pop, Gospel, R&B and adult contemporary, Knight has been a music legend since her rise to stardom between the 1960s and 1980s, when she dropped classics like "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "That's What Friends Are For". Knight, is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner so we're pretty sure she won't pull a Roseanne Barr on us.

Knight has been criticised for accepting the invitation to be part of the festivities when a number of other high profile artists including Rihanna and Cardi B have turned down offers because of the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, who has been out of a job for several seasons, started the trend of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in an attempt to protest against alleged police brutality. The city paid homage to Knight by renaming Atlanta's State Route 9-the extension from Peachtree Street to 14th Street-to Gladys Knight Highway in 2015.

Knight released a statement noting she understood Kaepernick's protest. Ahead of Ms. Knight's national anthem extravaganza, get all the details behind this R&B icon, and why she earned the title of the "Empress of Soul".

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"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", she said. "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".

Following in the footsteps of Cher, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel and countless other celebrity anthem guests, Knight says she is "proud" to represent the National Football League in singing before Super Bowl LIII.

Sisters and Atlanta natives Chloe and Halle Bailey will take the stage alongside performer and deaf activist Aarron Loggins, who will sign the song in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

Also performing at this year's event will be Maroon 5 along with Travis Scott and Big Boi for the always popular half-time show.

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif. on September 12, 2016. Live Super Bowl coverage on CBS will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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