Sheryl Lee Ralph Performed A Soulful Rendition Of ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing,’ The Black National Anthem, To Lead The Super Bowl

These days, Sheryl Lee Ralph is best known as Barbara Howard, the elder teacher on Abbott Elementary. She has already won an Emmy for her work on the show, but as the “original Dreamgirl,” who won a Tony for her portrayal of Deena Jones in the Broadway musical, her vocal chops shouldn’t be overlooked.

So when she was tapped to open this year’s Super Bowl with a soulful rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” aka the Black National Anthem, she rewarded that choice, showing off her range and getting things started off right. The pre-show also included a performance of “America The Beautiful” by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.

For those who might be wondering why this year deserved such an honor, it’s because Black history has been made. This is the first-ever Super Bowl to feature two Black starting quarterbacks facing off, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.

In a fun connection, the Super Bowl Halftime Show will be performed by Rihanna, whose Savage X Fenty Vol. 4 Show on Amazon Prime featured Sheryl Lee Ralph as a model. Her resume continues to grow and impress, making for an inspirational career second act.

You can watch Sheryl Lee Ralph’s pre-game performance above.