*National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Grammy Award-winning singer H.E.R. and soul stirring Jazmine Sullivan brought the culture to Super Bowl LV in an impactful way before kickoff.
This year, the NFL chose three Super Bowl captains who have made a difference in their communities during the pandemic. In a video, Gorman used a 1950s era microphone to recite a poem honoring the trio, titled “Chorus of the Captains.” She’s the first poet to ever perform at the Super Bowl.
“Today, we honor our three captains for their actions and impact in a time of uncertainty and need,” Gorman’s poem began. “They’ve taken the lead, exceeding all expectations and limitations, uplifting their communities and neighbors as leaders, healers and educators.”
H.E.R. delivered an electric rendition of “America the Beautiful” that would’ve made Jimi Hendrix proud.
Before the performance, she told Entertainment Tonight that she was nervous. “Honestly, I am so excited to just be performing at the Super Bowl. It’s a huge stage, and it doesn’t get any bigger, you know?” she said. “But I think the goal, for me, is to make [the song] my own. I’m a huge fan of the different versions of ‘America the Beautiful,’ but I really want to bring some different elements in there … make it H.E.R.”
And that S.H.E. did. Watch below:
And then, there was Jazmine Sullivan. Before her soulful contribution to the National Anthem duet with country star Eric Church, she appeared to pay homage to her Star Spangled Banner predecessor who belted it before the Super Bowl 30 years ago – and was the best to ever do it.
During dress rehearsal for the anthem, Sullivan stepped onto the field with Church sporting a white windbreaker similar to Houston’s during her memorable 1991 performance.
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) February 7, 2021
In 1991, Houston performed “The Star Spangled Banner” before the start of Super Bowl XXV (also in Tampa, FL), wearing a red-white-and-blue sweatsuit. That performance has since become the gold standard.
For the main event, Sullivan chose a white suit for the performance. Watch below: