Aretha Franklin gives a powerful 5-mitute rendition of the National American Anthem.
It was a Thanksgiving feast for the ears as iconic performer Aretha Franklin delivered a show-stopping and extended version of the National American Anthem.
The multi-GRAMMY award-winner belted out the patriotic melody while playing the piano ahead of the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit’s Ford Field on Thursday, WUFO AM reports.
Accompanying herself on piano, with an organist laying down gentle swells underneath, the Detroit native took her sweet (and how sweet!) time with the national anthem. Franklin stretched out for nearly five minutes, lingering passionately over each word. By contrast, when she sang the anthem at Harvard’s commencement ceremony in 2014, it was a full minute and a half shorter, NPR Music states.
NFL 2016 Live 1 (00) – Aretha Franklin sings the National Anthem https://t.co/9tjUuAvUNp
— 🖇thinking diehard (@hanae_56_20) November 24, 2016
The National American Anthem has been the subject of contentious discussion in the world of sports this year. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew both strong criticism and floods of support when he chose not to stand during the anthem at preseason games this summer; he said the gesture was to protest the oppression of minorities in the U.S.
Since then, several performers called upon to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sports games have shown solidarity with the spirit of Kaepernick’s protest. In October, Denasia Lawrence knelt, wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, as she sang the anthem at a Miami Heat game. A few days later, R&B singer Sevyn Streeter was told she could not perform the anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers game wearing a “We Matter” jersey. (Streeter is set to perform at the 76ers’ Dec. 16 home game, wearing the jersey).
In that context, Franklin’s performance Thursday felt like its own form of protest. As she elongated, adorned and purposefully inhabited each line, it was as though she was reclaiming the anthem for black people and other minorities who have called America home through that perilous fight.
Franklin’s 5-minute performance surprised viewers accustomed to versions that typically last for about half that time, like Whitney Houston’s iconic, fast-paced rendition, which clocked in at about 2 minutes.
Twitter erupted with reactions, with many fans celebrating Franklin’s incredible performance. Others were not so thrilled.
Either way, it probably gave families across America something to talk about other than the election, Huffington Post notes.
Twitter had a field day with song’s length, as did the game’s broadcaster, CBS, who put up the following graphic.
Time of possession battle is crucial. pic.twitter.com/EZVC53fVeD
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) November 24, 2016
The graphic showed not only the Vikings’ and Lions’ time of possession, but also Aretha Franklin’s.
Check out some of the funniest Twitter replies, Fox News offers.
Thankful Aretha Franklin doesn’t sing the Anthem when I pitch, pretty sure I would have to go back to the pen and warm back up #pipesthough
— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19) November 24, 2016
Between Aretha’s national anthem and the family member that prays for 45 minutes, we ain’t eating until Saturday
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 24, 2016
Bad news: Football is cancelled
Good news: 13-hour Aretha Franklin concert. Leave it on through dinner. Everybody will love it.
— The Ringer (@ringer) November 24, 2016
No matter what people might say the performance of the National American Anthem by an African-American woman is extremely significant. At these stressful times when Black people are desperate and see no way to cope with racism and discrimination except protesting Aretha Franklin’s voice fills the hearts of her brothers and sisters with pride and hope, it soothes and unites, it tells that Black Americans still have the place in this country and this place isn’t the last one.