Wonder had made the gesture — a response to President Donald Trump’s remarks this weekend regarding NFL players who kneel or sit in protest of the playing of the National Anthem — at the sixth annual Global Citizen Festival on Central Park’s Great Lawn.
After joining the Dave Matthews Band onstage, Wonder commended Matthews for using his musical gifts to “spread the never-ending cry to love.”
Wonder said it was an emotional night for him, adding “my mother cries in heaven for me.”
“She left me in a world where she believed I would be able to see. And I do,” he explained. “But not in the way she imagined.
“What I have seen too much if is breaking my heart,” Wonder said, then referring to the violent events in Charlottesville in August, he told the crowd, “I have seen hate marching down the streets disguised as a cry for equality.” And, he added, “If can see it, dammit, I know you can see it.
The question was, Wonder said, “What are we going to do about it?,
Then, after sharing lyrics to the unreleased song “Fear Can’t Put Dreams to Sleep,” Wonder dropped to one, then both his knees, with Matthews following suit.
“I take a knee for America and two knees in prayer for our world. Amen.”
Wonder and DMB then played a soulful version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” before ending the concert on a rocking, joyous “Superstition” that even had people on the soundboard dancing.