Singer John Legend has written a longform essay published on slate.com, praising the athletes who took a ‘patriotic’ stand by kneeling for the U.S. national anthem to protest racial discrimination last weekend.
"Protest is patriotic," he writes. "Protest has played a critically important role in elevating the voices of the most vulnerable in our nation. Protest in America has been essential to ending war, to demanding equal rights, to ending unfair practices that keep citizens marginalized. If we quell protest in the name of patriotism, we are not patriots. We are tyrants."
Elsewhere he accuses President Donald Trump of hypocrisy, claiming the former reality TV star "may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for."
"He wants to suppress millions of Americans’ right to vote because they didn’t vote for him. He routinely undermines freedom of religion with his rabid Islamophobia, attacks the free press with disturbing regularity, and is now attacking the rights of the people to peacefully protest."
Last Friday President Trump told a rally of supporters in Alabama he’d like to see ‘…these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!"’
No stranger to politics, two years ago Legend won an Oscar for his soundtrack to Selma, a movie celebrating the early achievements of civil rights icon Martin Luther King.
Last weekend during a show in Hamburg, Legend himself ‘took a knee’ in solidarity with the NFL.
"People across this country are suddenly thinking about what it must feel like to be a person of color," continues Legend in his slate.com polemic. "To watch an officer shoot an unarmed man, and walk away with a pension.
"Every time someone takes a knee or raises a fist, viewers must grapple with the why—with the uncomfortable reality that our country daily marginalizes thousands of people in impoverished communities."
John Legend’s European tour concludes in Barcelona on 12 October.