Stevie Wonder Takes a 'Knee for America'
Former Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest against police brutality and racial inequality has gained support from musicians, including Stevie Wonder, following controversial statements made by President Donald Trump.
The R&B legend showed solidarity on Saturday (Sept. 23) by kneeling at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City. “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” he explained. “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.”
Just one day earlier, President Trump called for National Football League owners to fire players for kneeling during the anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” he said, “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!'”
Following Trump’s comments, Diddy wrote, “THE LINE HAS NOW BEEN OFFICIALLY CROSSED.” He then appeared to urge other NFL stars to take a knee in solidarity. “Y’all represent us,” he said. “Y’all are our strong heroes. Let’s show that strength, please.”
This year, several players have taken inspiration from Kaepernick, who launched the kneeling protest last year, saying that he would not “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Athletes in other sports have joined the cause, as well, including U.S. Women’s National Soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Last night, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to take a knee.
Rappers have also celebrated Kaepernick’s protest, including J. Cole, who recently lamented the fact that Kap no longer has an NFL job. “Don’t you think somebody should risk their whole livelihood and their whole life to talk about this shit even if it cost them they money, they job, they life?” Cole said during a concert last month. “Don’t that sound like Colin Kaepernick?”
During the MTV Video Music Awards, Cardi B also voiced her support for the 29-year-old Kap. “As long as you kneel,” she said, “we’re gonna be standing for you.” Last week, JAY-Z dedicated “The Story of O.J.” — a song about racial inequality — to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who is currently an unsigned free agent.
The protests will continue. This morning, several Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players took a knee during the national anthem at Wembley Stadium. Several others are expected to join them in silent protest throughout the day.