Vanessa Williams ‘performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” alongside “The Star-Spangled Banner” at PBS’ annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration has rubbed shoulders with a lot on social media, as the song is widely known. under the name of “Black National Anthem.”

As news of the pre-recorded performance hit Twitter on Saturday, people started calling the upcoming special “racist” and promoting “segregation.” Specifically, many used the phrase “black national anthem” in The Hill’s coverage of the event to mean that July 4 will no longer represent all Americans.

For example, Newsmax host Steve Cortes simply wrote, “We have a national anthem…” in response to The Hill’s tweet.

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Florida-based politician Lavern Spicer brought up the issue with Williams herself, tweeting: “Darling Vanessa, a BLACK national anthem is something a black African country would have, not a country like America. that exists for everyone. “

In an interview with the Associated Press published Friday, Williams said she would perform the song as a way to promote Juneteenth on the show, which airs less than a month after President Biden signed the the official emancipation of slaves in the United States in law.

According to the NAACP, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written in poem form by organization leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900, and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, then wrote the music to accompany the lyrics. Although the song has been a staple of black culture, Beyoncé dramatically increased her visibility when she sang it during her landmark Coachella performance in 2018.

Check out some of the other disapproving takes here.

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As the “Black National Anthem” began to become a trend, several people supporting Williams’ performance took the opportunity to educate the Twitterverse on the history of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and to take some snaps. of those who did not know. he.


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