Super Bowl LV had a lot of powerful and inspiring moments during Black History Month.
The CBS Sports feature, Before Jackie, narrated by Academy Award winning actress, Viola Davis was written and directed by Washington, DC native Kayona Ebony Brown. Before Jackie, presents the story of how the color barrier was broken to highlight some of the great Black athletes that have played in the NFL. The film highlights Akron Pros Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard and explained how black journalists pushed back when the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles to play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This led to the Rams ending a 13-year unofficial ban on Black players by signing UCLA alum Kenny “Kingfish” Washington.
Wordsmith and change-maker Amanda Gormans wowed the world with her original poem, titled “Chorus of the Captains,” a tribute to three people for their contributions during the pandemic: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Martin. “Poetry at the Super Bowl is a feat for art & our country, because it means we’re thinking imaginatively about human connection even when we feel siloed,” wrote Gorman.
Alicia Keys’ stirring rendition of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” was absolutely beautiful. “Singing this song has me all in my feelings!,” the singer wrote on YouTube about the moving spot upon its initial release in September. The song was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!! They made history because they will be the first NFL team to ever reach the Super Bowl with an African American assistant coach, African American offensive coordinator, African American defensive coordinator, and an African American special teams coach. The Buccaneers have the most diverse coaching staff in the National Football League, with 11 African American coaches, and two female coaches.
Grammy winner and Super Bowl halftime performer The Weeknd partnered with Postmates to give 150 free meals to Florida healthcare workers. The meals were prepared by Mama’s Southern Soul Food, a well-known Black-owned restaurant in Tampa Bay. The “Starboy” hitmaker collaborated with Postmates for their national Black History Month campaign allowing food lovers to order from any of The Weeknd’s favorite local Black-owned restaurants.