Williams performed the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” after “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sang at the “A Capitol Fourth” celebration on PBS. She hosted the event last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, but things are starting to open now with several restrictions being lifted.
“It’s about unity. It’s about this amazing country that is based on democracy and realizing that we left the British to be free, but our government works because we have all those things in place. So, it’s celebrating the liberty and the structure we started as Americans, which also includes all different colors that helped build this country,” Williams said in an interview with Liana Brackett on Entertainment Studios.
The “Lift Every Voice and Sing” song, also known as the Black national anthem, was originally written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson, who was a NAACP (National Advancement for the Advancement of Colored People) leader, to appeal for freedom for Black Americans.
According to the NAACP website, it “set against the religious invocation of God and the promise of freedom, the song was later adopted by NAACP and prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.”
The song drew disapproval from people all over Twitter, such as Newsmax host Steve Cortes and Florida Republican politician Lavern Spicer.
We have one national anthem… pic.twitter.com/pLFbB28OIJ
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) July 3, 2021
Vanessa honey, a BLACK national anthem is something a Black African Country would have, not a country like America that exists for everyone 🇺🇸🤦🏾♀️ https://t.co/ZLt8kZLRSU
— Lavern Spicer (@lavern_spicer) July 3, 2021
It was an opportunity for those in favor of the Black national anthem to educate the masses on Twitter. Jemele Hill, contributing writer for The Atlantic, did the honors in imparting wisdom.
“Conservatives who are railing against critics race theory need to just look at these replies. This should reassure you that the true history of our country has never been taught,” Hill tweeted.