Stevie Wonder shared a hope for unity and positivity with the audience at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas before delivering a poignant political message by kneeling during his improvised performance of the national anthem.
According to Time Out Austin, Wonder opened his set by addressing racially divisive discourse in American politics: “I’ve never seen the color of my skin, nor the color of your skin,” he said. “What I want you to know is that we are in a race, we here, all of us here, a race against time … [so] it’s time for all the leaders, all the people, all of us to come together in the spirit of unity so we can move this world to a positive form.”
After performing classics such as “Superstitious” and “Sir Duke,” Wonder finished his set with a harmonica cover of “The Star Spangled Banner.” As seen in videos captured by fans at the event, Wonder kneeled during the performance, displaying solidarity with the professional athletes and other public figures who have kneeled in protest against institutional racism and police brutality. Time Out reported that many in the audience kneeled with Wonder in support of his message during the performance. Watch a fan video of the event below.
This is not the first time Wonder has performed such a gesture in solidarity with athletes taking a political stance against racist policing. At the Global Citizens Festival in New York’s Central Park last month, Wonder took a knee before leading the audience in a prayer for “our planet, our future, our leaders of the world, and our globe.”