Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Pharrell Take Knee Onstage in Protest
Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Dave Matthews and Pharrell Williams were among the artists to “take a knee” onstage Sunday in solidarity with NFL players staging a similar demonstration during the National Anthem.
Following Donald Trump’s comments Friday night condemning athletes who stage protests during “The Star Spangled Banner” – as well as Trump’s rescinded White House invitation to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors – NFL players across the league locked arms, took a knee or – in the case of the Seattle Seahawks – didn’t leave the locker room while the National Anthem was performed.
The demonstration – inspired by Colin Kaepernick’s pre-2016 election response to police brutality and racial inequality – soon spread into the music world, with Stevie Wonder the first to take a knee during his headlining set at the Global Citizen Festival on Saturday.
On Sunday, more artists joined in: During Vedder’s headlining solo set at Tennessee’s Pilgrimage Fest, the Pearl Jam singer stepped to center stage and kneeled in front of the audience.
Earlier in the day, Pearl Jam issued a statement in support of the Seahawks, who remained in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner” Sunday to show they “will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country,” the team said.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) September 25, 2017
Roger Waters ended his concert in Hartford, Connecticut by taking a minute-long knee with his band, while Prophets of Rage marked the demonstration by collectively wearing Kaepernick jerseys. John Legend also took a knee during his Sunday night concert.
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) September 25, 2017
During the A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity benefit concert, both Dave Matthews, Wonder and Pharrell Williams kneeled during their respective sets.
“I’m in Virginia right now. I’m home. Can’t nobody can tell me what to do if I wanted to get on my knees right now,” Williams said during his set. “If I wanted to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state. That’s what that flag is for.”
Wonder and Matthews kneeled together during Matthews’ set, which featured Wonder delivering a nine-minute speech about the importance of the benefit concert as well as why he joined the protest. “I take a knee for America and two knees in prayer for our world,” Wonder said.