Stevie Wonder took both knees at the Global Citizens Festival, in apparent solidarity with NFL players criticized by President Trump for protesting during the national anthem.
“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” he said on stage before his performance Saturday. “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.”
Wonder’s remarks came in the wake of Trump railing against NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. During a stump speech in Alabama on Friday, he said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b— off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’”
Trump followed up with a string of tweets Saturday in which he said players who want “the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues” should “not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country).”
Trump’s remarks seemed to be aimed at former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to to stand during the national anthem last year. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time.
At the Global Citizens Festival, Wonder also made a thinly veiled comment about Trump’s handling of tensions with North Korea, saying, “weapons are real and rhetoric is dangerous.”
He added a call for unity. “Our global brothers and sisters, I didn’t come here to preach,” Wonder said. “But I’m telling you, our spirit must be in the right place. All the time — not just now, but tomorrow and whenever you, whenever you, whenever you need to interrupt hate, stand down bigotry, condemn sexism, and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters every day.”