NFL To Feature ‘Black National Anthem’ During Upcoming Season – What Is It?
The name of the song is actually called 'Lift Every Voice and Sing', but it is more commonly known today as the Black National Anthem. The song itself is more than 120-years-old.
That's not a typo, it is more than 120-year-old. It actually started as a poem, written in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson who would later become heavily involving with the NAACP. His brother John, a composer, put the lyrics to music and first performed it in 1905 as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, according to wikipedia.
The song is garnering attention and conversation today following an announcement from the NFL that the song will be played again this year, prior to the traditional National Anthem at many NFL games. There is some mixed reporting on how often the league will play the song - The Hill and Washington Times report it will be played before 'tentpole games', aka important ones, like the season opener, playoff games and the Super Bowl. AZ Central reports it will air prior to all games.
And, many people don't realize this, the Black National Anthem/Lift Every Voice was actually performed prior to many NFL contests last season, including prior to Super Bowl 55, sung by Alicia Keys.
It's one of many efforts Commissioner Roger Goodell is making as part of his 10-year, $250-million pledge to combat racism. Other initiatives include prominently placed social justice signage, public service announcements, and player helmet decals, according to The Hill.
It's unclear exactly what such decals will say or look like, but the first thought that came to this writer's mind were the NBA jersey's worn during the pandemic that contained social justice messaging, like 'Black Lives Matter', 'Enough', 'Peace', and 'Equality', among others.
I've seen other reporting that indicated the names of individuals who were victims of police brutality, like George Floyd, may be included.
Via the Washington Times:
“The overarching theme for all of the league’s cause-marketing efforts this season will be: ‘It Takes All Of Us.’ But in-stadium messaging will be more ‘targeted’ this year — culminating with the ‘Inspire Change’ theme during Weeks 17-18,” Front Office Sports wrote.
The 2021 NFL regular season is due to kickoff on Thursday night, September 9, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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