In Thursday Night’s NFL season opener, you might have noticed that the national anthem sung was inherently different from games prior. “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is known as the Black national anthem will be performed at every single NFL game of the season per The New York Times. The song was performed by Alicia Keys and the Florida A&M choir before the start of the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. Players stood on the Raymond James Stadium field with their arms intertwined with one another listening to Keys and the choir perform.
This is part of the NFL’s efforts to cast a light on the racial injustices including the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The organization has also pledged $250 million over a 10-year period to various charities and organizations to fight systemic racism per NFL.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was also performed in April before the start of the draft.
The players will also be equipped with helmet decals that have been OK’d by the league displaying phrases, “Black Lives Matter,” “Stop Hate,” “Say Their Stories,” “Inspire Change,” “End Racism,” and “It Takes All of Us,” per Newser. The league will also display “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” on end zones in solidarity with social justice movements that pledge against racism and police brutality.
Some would agree that these pledges are long overdue considering Colin Kaepernick’s protest years ago that got him blacklisted from the league due to kneeling during the National Anthem.
Check out Alicia Keys’ performance of “Life Every Voice and Sing” written over 120 years ago by N.A.A.C.P. leader James Weldon Johnson.