Mesa native Troy Kotsur to perform national anthem in sign language at the Super Bowl

Oscar-winning actor Troy Kotsur will perform the national anthem in American sign language at the Super Bowl, and Colin Denny will sign “America the Beautiful."
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 12:27 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:18 PM MST
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mesa native and oscar-winning actor Troy Kotsur will perform the national anthem in American sign language at next month’s Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. He became the second deaf actor to win an Academy Award for his role in the film “CODA.”

Kotsur will perform alongside country music star Chris Stapleton. He will become the second person in a host city to sign the national anthem. In the 1996 Super Bowl, Valley native Mary Kim Titla became the first person to sign the national anthem, while Vanessa Williams sang.

Actor-singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won an Emmy last year, will also perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She stars in the hit comedy series “Abbott Elementary” alongside Quinta Brunson.

Nikki Soukup with the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing said the announcement of Kotsur signing the anthem meant a lot, especially to more than one million deaf and hard-of-hearing Arizonans. “This is the first time that someone from this community is signing the national anthem, and it’s an amazing point of pride,” she signed. “If deaf performers are shown on screen and captioning, that would provide the most inclusive and accessible experience in any Super Bowl yet.”

Colin Denny will sign “America the Beautiful” while R&B legend Babyface signs along. “His performance will not only be in ASL but also North American Indian sign language, kind of a blend of both of those languages for his performance,” signed Soukup.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be signed by Justina Miles. Soukup says having the coverage on a national platform is paving the way for younger generations. “It’s amazing for kids today to see that you can live your dream and achieve whatever you set out to do,” she signed.

The U.S. Navy’s flyover of State Farm Stadium will commemorate 50 years of women flying in the service. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company is executive producing the halftime show for a fourth year. Jesse Collins returns as an executive producer.