Gladys Knight to perform National Anthem at Super Bowl LIII

The NFL today announced that seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight will be performing the National Anthem ahead of Super Bowl LIII on CBS.

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” KNIGHT told the league. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”

The 74-year-old singer, affectionately known as the “Empress of Soul,” has had a litany of hits over her storied career, most notably “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”  Knight was born in Atlanta and maintains a strong connection to the city.

Knight takes the stage in a calmer period when it comes to the NFL’s national anthem debate.  The in fighting was still at its peak this time last year but has simmered greatly this season as most players stood for the flag and those that still kneeled had both the support of their teams and greater awareness among the public about their rationale. It also helped that the issue was less politicized by the president who has crafted myriad other battles to fight.

The last five anthems have been sung by Pink, Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel and Renee Fleming.