Black National Anthem
Over the past year, there have been countless of arguments, discussions and debates about the protesting of the national anthem. In the 2016 football season, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem sparking a now nation wide conversation about patriotism and racism. Many people believe Kaepernick’s kneel during the nation’s anthem is disrespectful to this country and the troops who fight tirelessly to protect it. He later explained in an interview that the main reason for the protest has nothing to do with our troops, whom he loves and respects, but has everything to do with police brutality and racial injustice among people of color in this country.
With all the attention focused around standing or kneeling during the national anthem, it was definitely a spectacle to witness this past Saturday during the 5th Quarter Classic. Before Jackson State University and Tuskegee University football players took the field, the crowd was asked to stand and participate in the singing of the anthem. American Idol contestant and recording artist Erica Washington had the honor and privilege of serenading the crowd with her powerful vocals.
“Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring…” Erica sung.
As Erica continued to sing, Ladd-Peebles stadium erupted with cheers and applause. Instead of the sounds and melodies of the Star Spangled Banner, the crowd sang along to what is known as the Black National Anthem. For about 2 minutes, there was an ambiance of collectiveness, democracy, safety and freedom. A reassuring feeling came over the crowd and in that moment, it was okay to be black.The pride, hope and joy of black culture was electrifying and captivating. Standing on the sideline of a HBCU classic game, looking into the stands and seeing unity and smiles made me realize that no matter what happens, we must continue to show love even when it seems undeserving.
After the stellar performance, the game kicked off and the bands begin to play. Tuskegee won 33 to 7 and to be completely honest... the entire game was lit.