Soul legend Gladys Knight will sing the American anthem before the Super Bowl, the final of the professional NFL football championship, kicks off on February 3 in Atlanta, her hometown.

The announcement comes amidst controversy over the choice of Maroon 5 to animate the half-time show, a California group mostly white, in a city considered a temple of black music, even if the rapper Travis Scott will also the part.

The American football league had already added on Sunday the half-time poster named Big Boi, a member of the Atlanta Outkast duo.

But several artists would have refused to perform at half-time, including Rihanna according to several US media, to show their support for the player Colin Kaepernick.

The quarterback has failed to find a club since he kneeled at the national anthem on several occasions during the 2016-17 season to denounce the police brutality against black men in the United States.

"I am proud to use my voice to unify and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta," said Gladys Knight, quoted in the NFL press release.

Aged 74, Gladys Knight is one of the last great ambassadors of the golden age of soul still alive.

Since the release of her first album in 1960, Gladys Knight has recorded several classics, such as "Midnight Train to Georgia" (No. 1 in the United States in 1973) or "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me".

In more than fifty years of career, she has received seven Grammy Awards, the awards of the music industry in the United States.

"I hope this anthem will touch people in a different way," said Gladys Knight in an NFL video.

"We've been singing it forever," she said, "but this time, I hope they'll feel it so deeply that it'll carry them high."

17/01/2019 19:51:26 –
New York (AFP) –
© 2019 AFP