Republican Rep. Gaetz slammed for boycotting Super Bowl over ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ performance

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is being slammed for controversial remarks he made ahead of R&B singer Andra Day’s Super Bowl performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

In a statement provided to theGrio, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., said she was “disappointed” in Gaetz’s remarks.

“It was a great game, and Andra did a beautiful job, so ultimately it was his loss,” she added. “Matt Gaetz failed to make any point except to show how ignorant he is.”

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross told theGrio that Gaetz’s statements are “nothing but white supremacy” and “white replacement theory on display.”

“He misses no punches…when it comes to pushing towards an American society where Black inclusion is something that is not seen or heard,” she Cross. “This is a man who has no problem being the new face of racism.”

On Sunday, Day, 39, sang what the NAACP nicknamed the “Black national anthem” in 1919 to kick off Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII, where the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gaetz took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to inform his followers that he would not watch the Super Bowl due to Day performing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The congressman shared a supposed exchange he had with his wife ahead of the Super Bowl game, which read, “Wife: Today is the Super Bowl! Me: We aren’t watching. Wife: Why? Me: They’re desecrating America’s National Anthem by playing something called the ‘Black National Anthem.’”

His wife allegedly responded, “Does that mean Cardi is performing?”

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, told theGrio Gaetz’s statements “again reinforces the anti-Blackness that permeates through the Republican Party.”

UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“They are continually showing us that our history, our struggles, and our overall stories are not valued by them. This isn’t the party of Reagan but the party of radical racism,” Crockett added.

In the 20th century, former NAACP official and poet James Weldon Johnson wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which was decades later widely sung as a hymn during the Civil Rights Movement.

Cross described the anthem as a “support of people that have been downtrodden by our system, year after year.”

“It matters to have this anthem be something that we sing…and something that America celebrates and cherishes with [the Black community],” she explained.

Cross believes “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is being performed at national events like the Super Bowl to make amends for the fallout of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a stand against racial injustice in 2016.

Kaepernick faced backlash from the NFL after he repeatedly used his platform to combat police brutality by taking a knee while “The Star-Spangled Banner,” also known as the national anthem, was performed before each game. As a result, many Black Americans stood in solidarity with the athlete and decided to boycott the NFL.  

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Congressman Matt Gaetz made controversial remarks about R&B singer Andra Day’s Super Bowl performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly criticized Gaetz’s remarks, and a Democratic strategist called his comments “white supremacy” and “white replacement theory on display.” In his comments, Gaetz mentioned avoiding watching the Super Bowl because of the song performance. Other Democratic representatives said Gaetz’s comments reinforced anti-Blackness, and they believed it showed the Republican Party’s lack of valuing Black history and struggles. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was originally written by James Weldon Johnson in the 20th century and was later sung during the Civil Rights Movement. A Democratic representative believes the song is being performed at national events like the Super Bowl to make amends for the fallout of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stand against racial injustice, who knelt during the national anthem and faced backlash as a result.

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