At a time when right-wingers are deriding celebrities with political opinions and telling them to “shut up and perform,” Stevie Wonder reminded the world that, at 67 years old, the activist in him is still as strong as ever.
Amidst a deeply divisive feud between the new president and the NFL players who protest police brutality against people of color by kneeling for the national anthem, Stevie Wonder made an appearance at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park. Wonder, who has been a performing musician since the tender age of 11, refused to simply shut up and sing.
Instead, he directly addressed the protests by NFL stars like Colin Kaepernick, whom the new president referred to indirectly as a “son of a b*tch” at a recent rally in Alabama, and stood tall as the voice of reason and peace while kneeling on the stage.
‘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… I wanted to say that prayer before I serve you my musical meal.’
The iconic musician has taken up several causes throughout his career, including advocating for the disabled and common sense gun control. No cause has been more central, or more noted, for Stevie Wonder as that of racial discrimination. For a man of color born during the Jim Crow days of segregation and who witnessed first hand the struggles of the Civil Rights movement, the fight is incredibly personal.
Wonder bashed no one, refused to criticize and instead pray for the president, reminding us all of the lessons of Wonder’s icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by making a display of love and tolerance while holding to his principles and kneeling in solidarity with those protesting by kneeling alongside his son. The crowd showed their appreciation with thunderous applause.
If only the president of the United States had but a small amount of Stevie Wonder’s integrity, how much better off might the world be for it?
For video of Stevie Wonder at Central Park, see video below:
Featured image via Getty/Kevin Mazur