The song, first performed publicly to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, is commonly known as the Black national anthem.

LAS VEGAS — Famed soul singer Andra Day performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” more commonly known as the Black national anthem, at the start of Super Bowl LVIII. 

Andra Day gave a stirring, gospel-flavored rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song that has become known as the Black national Anthem, before the teams took to the field for kickoff.

Wearing a long beige shirt with matching pants, a gold crucifix and large hoop earrings, Day began the song slowly, almost mournfully. 

But as the song picked up, she lifted the mic from its stand and — backed by six Black women as a chorus — raised her own voice to sing the later verses.

The choir was made up of members of the Sainted Trap Choir, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based singing group. The group is set to perform in the finals of the reality competition show “America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League” Monday night. 

Day told the AP during the week that she planned to calm her nerves with pregame prayers.

Her performance was the first of three pre-game songs that traditionally kick off the Super Bowl. Reba McEntire is singing the national anthem, while Post Malone is performing “America the Beautiful.”

Reba has been singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” for 50 years, including an anthem at the World Series. But when she sings it at the Super Bowl in just a few minutes it will be for the biggest audience of her epic career.

She said she’s got a few nerves, but if past performances are any indication, she could sing one of the quickest anthems in Super Bowl history. Oddsmakers have put the over-under on her “Star-Spangled Banner” at 90.5 seconds. Last year Chris Stapleton went past the 2-minute mark

Why is “Lift Every Voice and Sing” called the Black national anthem?

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is a hymn with lyrics written by James Weldon Johnson. The hymn is also known as “The Black National Anthem.”

According to the NAACP, where Johnson served as executive secretary at the time the hymn was written, the song was “prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.” 

Johnson’s brother composed the music for the hymn, which was initially written as a poem.

The organization said it was first performed in public by a choir of 500 schoolchildren from the segregated Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida, where Johnson was principal. It was performed to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. 

It became the official song of the NAACP in 1919.

Despite its long history in Black culture, the song has only been featured at three Super Bowls before Super Bowl 58. It first debuted at the big game in 2021. 

Who is singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” this year?

Andra Day, a famed musician known for her R&B and soul singing, performed the Black national anthem at the Super Bowl. 

Since her musical debut in 2015, Day has earned several accolades, including a Grammy in 2021. 

Day is also an acclaimed actress, starring as the iconic singer Billie Holiday in the biographical drama “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” in 2021. 

Editor’s note: The initial version of this story said “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It was first performed publicly to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday. 

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