On the same day Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton held his British flag in triumph after winning the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, on Sunday (Oct. 22), Stevie Wonder knelt before the American flag — symbolically, at least.
Technically, Wonder knelt while performing the National Anthem using his trusty harmonica. According to Time Out, Wonder told the audience, “I’ve never seen the color of my skin nor the color of your skin. What I want you to know is that we are in a race, we here, all of us here, a race against time — it’s time for all the leaders, all the people, all of us to come together in the spirit of unity so we can move this world to a positive form.”
Also according to Time Out, “many among the audience dropped to a knee with him.” Wonder also reportedly worked in some of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” into the performance.
Stevie Wonder kneeling as he plays the National Anthem on harmonica. pic.twitter.com/1AAqHfGJq5
— Peter Blackstock (@Blackstock360) October 23, 2017
anyway, Stevie Wonder was awesome. here’s him playing the national anthem on a harmonica as he kneels. i love him pic.twitter.com/ZOHMbmo4r8
— — (@omggnancy) October 23, 2017
Kneeling for the anthem has become a symbol of protest against police brutality and racial injustices in America. The gesture was originated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the NFL’s 2016 preseason and has continued throughout the league (and beyond) in 2017 — ignited by comments made by President Trump in September.
Wonder also knelt for his performance of the national anthem at New York’s Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 23.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 24, 2017