In a weekend rooted in divisiveness with a few hot-button debates brewing, the 2017 Global Citizen Festival couldn’t have arrived at a more appropriate time. Taking place in New York City’s Central Park, the outing brought together the likes of Pharrell Williams, Green Day, and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miroslav Ljcak, just to name a few with the objective of ending extreme world poverty throughout the globe by the year 2030.
Among musicians scheduled to take to the stage was veteran singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, who also took the opportunity of his set to make a political statement. In reference to Donald Trump’s remarks on NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem, Wonder knelt onstage before the crowd to make clear what his stance on the topic was.
“It is only through life we can make life happen through ourselves and each other. Our global brothers and sisters, I didn’t come here to preach, but I’m telling you, our spirits must be in the right place all the time,” he declared. “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America—not just one knee, but both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, and leaders of our world.”
Following the gesture, he dove into a set that included fitting perfomances of tracks like “Overjoyed,” a moving cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” even bringing out Pharrell for a few renditions of cuts that included “Get Lucky,” “Superstition,” and “Happy.” Stevie Wonder’s decicison to take such a bold stance onstage came a day after Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Alabama for United States Senate candidate Luther Strange and condemned the silent protests of NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem with the face of this campaign most notably being former 49ers quarterback and Super Bowl contender Colin Kaepernick.
Since Trump’s remarks, athletes across multiple sports have stepped up to denounce his comments with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell releasing a statement, labeling the President’s thoughts as divisive and disrespectful.
Journalist and activist Shaun King has also revealed that an evergrowing list of NFL players have made plans to participate in the silent protest during Sunday’s NFL matchups following Trump’s remarks.https://twitter.com/_/status/911404198809493504