Yeah, Yeah, Tom Brady Won Another Ring, but Black Women Made the Super Bowl Their Runway

Jazmine Sullivan performs during the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.
Jazmine Sullivan performs during the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.
Photo: David J. Phillip (AP)

We heard there was a football game on Sunday, but as usual, we’re just here for the fashion. (Plus, Brady and ‘nem won yet again, so what else is new, other than you experimenting with wings in the air fryer this year?) While the game may have been anticlimactic, at best—OK, abjectly disappointing for those of us rooting for the Black QB—what was winning was the way Black women showed up and out for the big event, because...well, you know how we do.

Chains, studs and crystals would prove to be the theme of this year’s football bonanza, and bandages notwithstanding, the biggest fashion statement of the big game was not the Weeknd’s tethered halftime army but Jazmine Sullivan. The singer-songwriter was stunning in a crystal-embellished ivory pantsuit and crystal headpiece by Area New York as she gave an equally stunning rendition of the national anthem alongside country star Eric Church.

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Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan performs the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.
Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan performs the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.
Photo: Mark Humphrey (AP)

Only slightly more subdued was H.E.R.’s deeply soulful interpretation of “America the Beautiful” (whew, that girl can play the guitar). To put her own riff on the all-American theme, the musician worked with an all-Black team, including stylist Wouri Vice and longtime collaborator Brea Stinson of Stinson Haus, who created the singer’s heavily embellished motorcycle jacket and two-toned, studded ombré denim flares, reminding us that rock-and-roll started with Black people, too. But giving us a little more insight into H.E.R.’s possible motivation behind the look, stylist Vice simply posted: “Peace. Equality. Love. The message.”

H.E.R. performs “America The Beautiful” before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
H.E.R. performs “America The Beautiful” before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Photo: Mike Ehrmann (Getty Images), Chris O’Meara (AP)

Ciara may not have been performing on Sunday night, but she gave a subtle message of her own as she accompanied husband Russell Wilson to receive his Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Her tresses were pink, but the bottoms of the stilettos she wore to strut across the field at Raymond James Stadium were Seahawks blue, speculated to be from luxury Italian brand Loriblu. Of course, many may have missed the nod while distracted by Ciara’s leg game, proudly on display beneath a chain-detailed, strong-shouldered tuxedo jacket.

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Of course, we cannot overlook America’s newest sweetheart, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, who composed and performed more original verses for the Super Bowl in tribute to America’s everyday heroes. A fashion maven as well as a poetic prodigy, Gorman has not only recently signed with IMG Models but is already working with one of the industry’s best stylists, Jason Bolden, who dressed the 22-year-old in a powder blue patent leather coat by Moschino with crystal, pearl and stud-trimmed lapels. Complementing the look was a circlet of pearls around Gorman’s crown of braids and jewelry by Mateo New York.

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As is fitting for the country’s first-ever youth poet laureate, perhaps Gorman articulated the significance of all the Black woman magic on display at the Super Bowl best in a recent conversation with forever first lady Michelle Obama for Time.

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“Speaking in public as a Black girl is already daunting enough, just coming onstage with my dark skin and my hair and my race—that in itself is inviting a type of people that have not often been welcomed or celebrated in the public sphere,” she told Obama, who later asked: “Do you have any advice for young girls, and Black girls in particular, who earn their way into the spotlight?”

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“My question is do they have any advice for me. I’m new to this, so I’m still learning,” Gorman replied. “I would say anyone who finds themselves suddenly visible and suddenly famous, think about the big picture. Especially for girls of color, we’re treated as lightning or gold in the pan—we’re not treated as things that are going to last. You really have to crown yourself with the belief that what I’m about and what I’m here for is way beyond this moment. I’m learning that I am not lightning that strikes once. I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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DISCUSSION

everytimeidie
Petey Wheatstraw The Devil Son in law

Literally the only thing worth watching is the rising of Black women at the bowl. I haven’t watched a super bowl in years, especially  during a damn pandemic, America is silly as fuck.