During A Concert For Charlottesville: An Evening Of Music And Unity in Virginia, Pharrell Williams joined the ranks of the NFL and dropped to his knees while performing, not to directly protest the National Anthem, but to make a point. “If I want to get on my knees right now for the people in my city…for the people in my state — that’s what that flag is for,” he said. His gesture comes after a weekend of football, baseball and tennis players have been taking a knee to silently protest injustice towards people of color.
He then went on to make a passionate speech about the potential of his home state and the country make him “Happy” and then went into a rendition of his smash hit from Despicable Me 2.
Williams’ kneeling comes a day after Stevie Wonder took a knee during his performance at the Global Citizen Festival. It was the same performance where Williams later joined Wonder on stage for a duet. It just so happened that Wonder made an appearance at the Charlottesville concert as well, performing with Dave Matthews and kneeling alongside him once again during their performance.
The special concert to promote unity took place today at the University of Virginia and was hosted by the Dave Matthews Band. Performers included Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Cage the Elephant and others.
The event was a response to the recent event in their hometown. It was co-produced by Oath Studios, live streamed to a global audience and directed by Brett Ratner.