Stevie Wonder took “a knee for America” in support of NFL stars who have been criticised by President Donald Trump for kneeling during the national anthem at games.
The US singer-songwriter showed his backing for the #TakeAKnee movement, a top social media trend in recent days, at the Global Citizens Festival in New York’s Central Park. Wonder told the music festival: “Whenever you need to interrupt hate, stand down bigotry, condemn sexism and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters every day.
“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America. “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 – amen.”
With the help of his son Kwame Morris, the 67-year-old pop star dropped to one knee, and then the other in front of the cheering crowd. Wonder then went on to entertain festival-goers with performances of his hits including Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours and Sir Duke – and a cover of John Lennon’s Imagine.
His show of solidarity came after President Trump called for NFL stars to be “fired” for kneeling while The Star-Spangled Banner played at games. Various players across the league have taken a stand by kneeling or raising their fist during the national anthem since the start of last season, including high-profile figures like Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch.
Kaepernick, who remains unemployed despite leading a team to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2012 season, was the first to protest over perceived racial injustice and police brutality.