Abbott Elementary’s Sheryl Lee Ralph to sing Black national anthem at Super Bowl

Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph will be singing what has become known as the Black national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The actor made headlines in September after singing during her Emmys acceptance speech, where she won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as a teacher in Quinta Brunson’s hit mockumentary.

Now, Ralph will be showing off her vocal skills again at the biggest event in American football, with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.

The hymn is often referred to as the Black national anthem. It was written by two brothers in the early 1900s in response to the struggles faced by African Americans following Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the south until 1965.

The song has been performed numerous times over the years at the halftime show.

Ralph shared her excitement on Instagram, writing: “Come on now. Don’t you ever give up on you baby! I’ll be singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ at Super Bowl LVII. See you there.”

Ralph is a seasoned musical theatre performer, having originated the role of Deena Jones in the Broadway production of Dreamgirls. She won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the role, which was later played by Beyoncé in the 2006 film.

The NFL announced this week that country singer Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, which is being headlined by Rihanna.

R&B singer Babyface will also perform "America the Beautiful”.

The 2023 Super Bowl will take place on 12 February at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.