‘Now I’m going to put the spirit of us back in the song…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Grammy-winning R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has agreed to sing the national anthem at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game following a three-year trial separation while he dallied with the kneeling protest of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Hamilton vocally supported Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of police brutality against African-Americans.
“I’m gonna take a little time away from the anthem until it starts feeling like it’s for me,” Hamilton said in 2016.
But now, Hamilton said he wants to put meaning back in the national anthem.
“I had some conversations with some great people,” the 48-year-old Charlotte native said. “It was just like, you know what? It’s a moment. I can go out there, and I can stand up, and I can be as black as I want to be, as proud as I want to be. I can represent for those who feel like me, and feel like Kaepernick, but take what we stand for and put it back into the anthem.”
However, if the NFL had asked him to sing the national anthem, Hamilton said it would be a completely different story.
“The team owners in the NBA are a lot different than the owners of teams in the NFL; the NBA represents and supports their players and people’s beliefs, where the NFL does not,” Hamilton’s manager Eli Davis told the Charlotte Observer.
Hamilton agreed: “A lot of the NBA coaches and owners kinda respect the players’ decisions, and the NFL is pretty much shaded and I’m not with that,” he told WCNC.
Hamilton said his mindset toward the national anthem changed after he “worked out some things.”
“Now I’m going to put the spirit of us back in the song,” he told WCNC.
But Hamilton said he still wants his performance to remind Americans of racial “injustice” and “oppression.”
“This time around, it’s gonna be about Kaepernick and all the people who are standing up and fighting for justice for the unjust, and we’ll be thinking about how this country has let us down somewhat, and just mistreated some of the people who didn’t deserve it,” he told the Observer.
“And to bring back that common bond, the common thread, and the goal of America, back when it was about serving God, serving the people and bringing together love, justice and just the pursuit of happiness, man. Getting back to that. That’s what I want people to feel when they hear me,” he added.
The all-star game will be hosted in Charlotte this weekend.
Whatever Hamilton does, he would have to go out of his way to offer a more panned rendition than pop-star Fergie. The former Black-Eyed Peas frontlady was ripped on social media for her performance at last year’s game.