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Stevie Wonder Plays The National Anthem On His Knees (Photo)

Stevie Wonder Plays The National Anthem On His Knees (Photo) Promo Image

During a concert in Austin, Texas, musician Stevie Wonder again expressed his support of NFL players protesting the national anthem by playing "The Star Spangled Banner" while kneeling. 

Wonder's action came during his Oct. 22 concert after the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, reports the Austin American-Statesman. 

At the beginning of the nearly two-hour show, Wonder told the crowd he didn't want to get political, but said it was time for Americans to come together as a "united people." 

"I've never seen the color of my skin, nor the color of your skin. Not to get political, because I don't like to do that," he said. "It is time for the leader of this nation, the leaders in the varied political positions that they hold, the people, we as artists -- all of us come together as a united people of these United States of America." 

The rest of the concert had little to do with politics, until the finale, when Wonder sank to his knees during a performance of the national anthem on harmonica. 

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"In the home of the United States, or the united people of America, not some but all, feel me, Mr. President," Wonder said at the end of the song. 

It's not the first time Wonder has used his platform to support the NFL protests. 

In September, the 67-year-old music legend got on both knees during the Global Citizen Festival and again with the Dave Matthews Band during a benefit concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Aug. 12, one person was killed and several were injured when white supremacists and counter-protesters clashed in the college town.

"Tonight I'm taking a knee for America," Wonder said at the festival, according to The Atlantic. "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."

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During the concert in Charlottesville, Wonder gave a speech against bigotry.

"If I can see it, dammit, I know you can see it," he said, according to The Atlantic.

Taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest was popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 NFL season. 

Kaepernick began kneeling for the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. 

The protest form gained some popularity, but exploded in September after President Donald Trump criticized players who take a knee, saying they should be immediately fired and football fans should boycott the NFL until the players are forced to stand for the national anthem. 

Sources: Austin American-Statesman, The Atlantic / Featured Image: Olimpiades Especiales America Latina/Flickr / Embedded Images: Peter Blackstock/Twitter, Greg Allen/AP via The Atlantic

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