Pharrell Williams ‘takes a knee’ in Charlottesville protest

first_img Support The Guardian R&B Read more Performing in Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of far-right marches in August, the R&B singer and rapper knelt in front of the crowd, saying: “If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for”, a reference to the stars and stripes, and to freedom of speech. He also called for “freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of belief, freedom to live.”The protest has been taken up since August last year by African American sports stars, who kneel and stay silent rather than sing the national anthem during sporting events, to highlight racism against black Americans. Numerous players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens staged the protest during their game at Wembley stadium this weekend.Stevie Wonder also made the protest during a concert this weekend, saying: “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America, but not just one knee – I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe. Amen.”Fellow soul singer John Legend wrote in an op-ed for Slate: “Protest is patriotic. Protest has played a critically important role in elevating the voices of the most vulnerable in our nation … They are the definition of patriotism … Every time someone takes a knee or raises a fist, viewers must grapple with the why – with the uncomfortable reality that our country daily marginalizes thousands of people in impoverished communities.” Other stars from outside the sport have rallied to support the protestors. TV host Ellen DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: “As a football fan, I am proud of the NFL players today. Nothing is more American than the right to peacefully protest.” Singer John Mayer said that “Trump’s comments re NFL further prove he’s hellbent on poisoning all aspects of American life,” while actor Olivia Wilde kneeled with the cast of Broadway show 1984 following a performance. Colin Kaepernick has won: he wanted a conversation and Trump started it Since you’re here… Share on Messenger Pharrell Williams Play Video Rap US sports news Share on Pinterest Read more Stevie Wonder takes to his knees at the Global Citizen festival – video Pharrell Williams has become the latest music star to show solidarity with NFL players, by sharing in their “take a knee” protest against racial injustice in the US. 0:31 Race Share on WhatsApp NFL The wave of “take a knee” protests has infuriated President Trump, who told a rally over the weekend: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” On Twitter, he encouraged Americans to boycott the NFL until players stopped protesting. Share via Email Share on Facebook Topics Egyptian students told to respect the flag or risk a year in prison … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Stevie Wonderlast_img

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