Stevie Wonder opened his Global Citizen fest performance Saturday by “taking both knees” in solidarity with athletes’ protests in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s most recent remarks.
“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” Wonder said as he took the stage. “But not just one knee, I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe.”
Wonder then kneeled with his son Kwame Morris by his side in front of thousands in the Central Park crowd.
At an Alabama rally Friday night, Trump verbally attacked NFL players like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the National Anthem, saying they should “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.”
Saturday morning, Trump rescinded the Golden State Warriors’ invitation to the White House because of Stephen Curry’s reluctance to take part in the tradition. Athletes in both the NBA and the NFL then turned to social media to criticize Trump, who LeBron James called a “bum.” Saturday night also witnessed Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell become the first major league baseball player to take part in an anthem protest. More are expected for Sunday’s NFL games.
At Global Citizen, Wonder spoke about the importance of the organization’s goals. “All of us are valuable and important and must take care of each other and this planet,” Wonder said. “If we don’t, we could lose the ultimate video game of life. Losing sight that weapons are real and rhetoric is dangerous. Whether it be from a superpower in North America or a superpower in North Korea.”
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Wonder continued, “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… Whenever you need to interrupt hate, stand down bigotry, condemn sexism and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters everyday.”
During Wonder’s set, the singer teamed with fellow Global Citizen performer Pharrell Williams for a trio of songs, including “Happy,” “Superstition” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which Wonder previously performed alongside Williams and the French duo at the 2014 Grammys.