Why is the Black National Anthem trending you ask? Well, American singer and actress Vanessa L. Williams performed the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” widely known as the Black National Anthem, while hosting PBS’s 41st annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration. The performance by the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America airs tonight, Sunday, July 4th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST, and a lot of people aren’t too happy about it. Some called it ‘divisive’ and a contradiction of efforts to create ‘unity’. How Sway??
Williams said her performance of the song will not only honor the nation’s traditional Independence Day but also Juneteenth. For those who are not already aware, the song, first written as a poem in 1900 by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson, has long held the nickname as the ‘Black National Anthem.’ Also, might we add, the song doesn’t get nearly enough play or love.
It’s important to note that Williams’ performance of “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” is not replacing the US National Anthem. Singer Renée Fleming will be opening the show with a special performance of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and several other singers and musicians will also perform different songs.
In an interview with The Associated Press published Friday, Williams said that she will be singing the anthem as a way to promote Juneteenth during the show, which was pre-recorded because of the pandemic, but will have a live fireworks presentation.
“It’s in celebration of the wonderful opportunity that we now have to celebrate Juneteenth. So we are reflective of the times,” she said, just weeks after President Biden signed into law an act designating June 19 as an official federal holiday.
“I am so honored to be hosting A Capitol Fourth this year. I first performed on this national July 4th TV tradition in 2005, and it has always held a special place in my heart.”
We totally agree with Williams and are happy to see some progression on today’s holiday however haters are gone hate and the inclusion of the ‘Black National Anthem’ has sparked controversy on social media. Here’s what the people had to say.
“A Capitol Fourth” will air on PBS tonight from 8 to 9:30 p.m. EST. The show will also include performances from Cynthia Erivo, Christopher Jackson and Gladys Knight as well as Jimmy Buffett and the National Symphony Orchestra.