By Jillian Kay
Taking center stage at this year’s Super Bowl LVII pregame show will be Abbott Elementary’s Sheryl Lee Ralph singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” rapper BabyFace singing “America the Beautiful,” and country music star Chris Stapleton singing the National Anthem.
Alongside these pre-game artists will be three American Sign Language performers. Academy Award winning actor Troy Kotsur from CODA will sign the National Anthem, Arizona native and advocate for indigenous communities like the Navajo nation Colin Denny will sign “America the Beautiful,” and viral Tik-Tok star Justina Miles will sign “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“When they asked me, ‘Hey Troy, would you mind signing the National Anthem, I said hey sure!” said Kotsur. Yet, he took a closer look at the meaning and creator behind the song. “Francis Scott Key wrote the song. It’s really a fascinating history because he actually witnessed what happened during the Revolutionary War. The smoke and the fire, and even through it all, the flag was still there… So, that inspired me even more. I’m going to add in my personality as an artist and put it all out there to show you all my work.”
When asked what she’s looking forward to, Miles said, “So, I am going to sing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’ The National Anthem never really resonated with me personally. It’s so important to me to really bring that empowerment to black deaf people across the country. I feel like that is truly lifting every voice. Even my voice.”
As an Arizona native, Denny says it’s an honor to be representing the Navajo Nation and indigenous communities. “You have the deaf, the hearing indigenous communities all around America and it’s an honor to represent all three of them. All three of those communities have these three things in common: language, culture and diversity,” said Denny.
Kotsur, Denny and Miles will perform at Super Bowl LVII’s pregame show this Sunday starting at 6:30pm EST.