The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons today in the first game of the 2018-19 NFL season. Boyz II Men have set the hype bar very high as they kicked off the night with a moving rendition of the national anthem. Twitter is loving it.
Boyz II Men have sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a number of key sporting events throughout their long history. In addition to their relationship with the NFL, they’ve performed at NBA games, and at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The R&B group, formed in 1985, gained popularity in the early ’90s with hit singles like “Motownphilly” and “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” Their popularity soared later in the decade with their record-breaking hits like “I’ll Make Love to You.”
Decades later, their classic song “One Sweet Day,” with Mariah Carey, still holds the record of most weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Not even the wildly popular “Despacito” could unseat them from that accolade.
Tonight, the vocal trio of Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman, wore Eagles jerseys as they took to the field at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, celebrating their hometown heritage. The number 52 on their jerseys referenced the Philly team’s long-awaited win at the 52nd Super Bowl last season. Their remarkable vocal harmonies turned the national anthem into an emotional ballad that stirred the soul.
Fans on social media have been tweeting their reactions to the group’s classy performance.
“Those Boyz II Men still have it,” said Billy Michael Honor, who shared a video clip of the song.
Those Boyz II Men still have it. pic.twitter.com/9DJL4cTO2z
— Billy Michael Honor (@BillyMHonor) September 7, 2018
“An entire nation is applauding you right now,” said Michael Berry. “One of the most glorious presentations of it I’ve ever heard, gentlemen.”
Hey @BoyzIIMen, an entire nation is applauding you right now. Beautiful rendition of the anthem of our nation. One of the most glorious presentations of it I've ever heard, gentlemen.
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) September 7, 2018
Some are calling this the best “Star-Spangled Banner” since Whitney Houston sang her heart out at the 1991 Super Bowl.
— Akbar Gbajabiamila (@Akbar_Gbaja) September 7, 2018
A few Twitter users have cracked jokes about the ongoing debate over athletes kneeling in protest for the anthem.
“Boyz II Men could’ve broken Twitter for good by singing ‘On Bended Knee’,” joked one Twitter fan.
Boyz II Men could’ve broken twitter for good by singing “On Bended Knee” here. Alas,
— i will fight any bird, any size (@AnthraxJones) September 7, 2018
“I was kneeling until I heard it was Boyz II Men singing,” said another.
— ultra! (@ultralordbeats) September 7, 2018
In a July interview, Stockman, one of the founding members of the group, said that he won’t perform the national anthem on his own anymore. Citing the song’s writer as “a well-documented racist,” he feels that the anthem “did not represent America as we now see it, or as we now know it.” He’s certainly willing to harmonize with his bandmates when asked, though.
“Sometimes, being in a group, you have to put your own feelings and opinions aside for the greater good of the group.”