Stevie Wonder shared a hope for unity and positivity with the audience at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas before delivering a poignant political message by kneeling during his improvised performance of the national anthem.
According to Time Out Austin, Wonder opened his set by addressing racially divisive discourse in American politics: “I’ve never seen the color of my skin, nor the color of your skin,” he said. “What I want you to know is that we are in a race, we here, all of us here, a race against time … [so] it’s time for all the leaders, all the people, all of us to come together in the spirit of unity so we can move this world to a positive form.”
After performing classics such as “Superstitious” and “Sir Duke,” the music legend finished his set with a harmonica cover of “The Star Spangled Banner.” As seen in videos captured by fans at the event, Wonder kneeled during the performance, displaying solidarity with the professional athletes and other public figures who have kneeled in protest against institutional racism and police brutality. Time Out reported that many in the audience kneeled with Wonder in support of his message during the performance.
Watch fan shot footage of the event below.
The symbol of taking a knee during the national anthem stems from Colin Kaepernick’s public protest against police brutality last year. After the NFL received criticism from President Donald Trump, athletes and teams across the franchise kneeled in protest of the president’s statements.
Just a small snippet of the amazing 5-minute both-knee-taking instrumental Star Spangled Banner at tonight’s Stevie Wonder F1 show: pic.twitter.com/jcEoZFmjuY