Two Black musicians added some soul seasoning to the national anthem by incorporating the Negro national anthem at the beginning of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
Saxophonist Mike Phillips and pianist West Byrd performed the national anthem virtually before the race started. Byrd started by playing the first 16 bars of the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on his keyboard. Phillips then joined in by playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and at the conclusion of the song, Byrd ended it with the song penned by James Weldon Johnson in 1900.
That was incredible. Legendary saxophonist @m_dot_philly performs our national anthem.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 28, 2020
Black Twitter was on it immediately, though NASCAR fans basically had no clue what had been done.
To see so many people be confused about the intro is both sad and funny.
— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@Ria_B1971) June 28, 2020
I wonder how many people under here know what just happened 💀🤣
— #SayHerName (@IamDajanae) June 29, 2020
I love that they included lift every voice. This was gorgeous
— Timoteo Cruz (@trombone_wav) June 28, 2020
If this is what’s going on with NASCAR, I may just have to watch it. First getting rid of the traitor’s flag, now this…the Lift Ev’ry Voice elements were just what I needed right now. Thank you for the beautiful music.
— mattie_stevens (@mattie_stevens) June 30, 2020
That intro went right over a lot of people’s head. But it was fabulous
— LJSheppard (@LouisJSheppard) June 28, 2020
@jaredsims what do you think about the intro and the tag at the end?
— Askari1906 (@askari1906) June 29, 2020
Let us march on until victory is won! Love it so much!
— Erika Sandiford (@eterrillsandi) June 30, 2020
— Lyn J. Raheem (@Dcgirlnmd) June 30, 2020
This is one for the ages!!!! 😂🤣 They are all clueless
— Darrell Barnes (@MstrMotivator) June 29, 2020