The NFL proposing to have "Lift Every Voice and Sing" played before Week 1 games, the headlines the media is throwing out there for the story is clickbait. Lift Every Voice and Sing(LEVAS) is commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem.
It, of course, does not have the same standing as the Star Spangled Banner(SSB), which is the official national anthem of the USA. However, many black folks, myself included, feel strongly enough about the words in LEVAS to treat it as our National Anthem, even to the extent of standing while it's played. And instead of singing only the first verse of the SSB, Black folks sing all the verses of LEVAS. Because all the verses carry significant meaning to black people.
It is a song that describes black folks struggle and fight to be considered relevant in this country. It offers us hope. It praises the God who sustained us, and kept us fighting whether being enslaved, hung by a noose or being told that we must use separate facilities, or when police continue to abuse their authority and kill those they arrest. It is a powerful song that never fails to inspire. More white folks ought to listen to it.
In actuality, this scheme by the NFL, while well intentioned, is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on an amputation. It's a feel good effort to act "woke." And I'm sure the NFL will find a way to make money off the whole thing.
But this is one small step. Among many. But, as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with ONE SMALL STEP. We have come a long way, but we still have far to go.
All sides to look deep into their hearts. That includes black folks as well. How can we demand respect from everyone when we won't demand respect from ourselves?
How can we demand that police stop killing us, when we are still shooting each other over drugs, turf, and women? How can we get out of our ghettos when the only ways out we offer our children is either as an entertainer or an athlete?
Why are there more black men in jail than in college?
Why are there so many black folks using smartphones and so few helping to design them? I don't know. I'm but one voice and I don't know the answers.