Actress and singer Vanessa Williams hosted “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS where she ended the event by singing what is known as the Black National Anthem.

The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was an anthem written by former NAACP frontman James Weldon Johnson in 1900 with his brother, John Rosamond Johnson. Today it is known to be the black national anthem as it gained popularity during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

You can see his performance here:

Youtube

Vanessa Williams dedicated the song saying:

“As I prepare to sing this next song, I am filled with the spirit of freedom and perseverance that is required to achieve this most precious right.”

“I dedicate this to my ancestors, to our new federal holiday on June 17, and to all who celebrate freedom.”

It was no secret that the black national anthem would be sung during the event.

Last Thursday Williams said Associated Press:

“This is to celebrate the wonderful opportunity we now have to celebrate Juneteenth. So we are like the times.”

“And I’m happy to be a part of a great show where the producers are aware and keen to make the changes that have happened over the past year and a half.”

Williams has reflected on his history with the PBS event over the years. Last year, she sang the song “Not While I’m Around”, from the musical Sweeney Todd.

She chose this song to represent the feelings of black mothers after the murder of George Floyd.

“[The song] just talked about the bond you have with your kid and wanting to protect him, which definitely reflected George Floyd and how everyone felt that pain. “

But conservatives seem upset with the choice to sing the black national anthem.




The public reaction sparked controversy on Twitter.










Vanessa Williams has yet to comment on the controversy over the song’s inclusion in this year’s event.

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