Colin Kaepernick has raised a lot of eyebrows (and the blood pressure of some very vocal detractors) with his decision to kneel during the national anthem. In a conversation with Shay Diddy at the Western Union VIP Lounge last Tuesday (September 27), Kehlani pledged her support of the movement.
During the interview, Kehlani was asked to handpick some of her recent tweets and provide further explanation or insight. The first one said, “I think all artists of color should refuse to sing that anthem shit too.”
Certainly, a powerful statement to clarify.
“So I know we all know what’s going on here. I kind of almost corrected it afterwards and said I think all artists at this point should take part in what Kaepernick is doing and what so many other people are joining in and doing and it’s really important to the entire movement, I think for people just to stand together. Not just people who are in sports, not just athletes, but we’re artists. We have a say. They ask us to sing [the national anthem] too, they ask us to come show up and be a part of that. We have the right to say no, check this out—we can take part in and stand together and influence most importantly cuz people look up to us. So we have a big say.”
Kaepernick’s justification for sitting down during the national anthem, and later kneeling instead, makes complete sense. How can we show pride for a country that continually oppresses black people and people of color? There is no honor in that.
Kehlani is equally right: Just like athletes, the youth look up to musicians. The political and social opinions of entertainers are a driving force of pop culture and politics, especially during the current political climate. Just like other artists, Kehlani must be a shining example of what pride, dignity, and self-respect look like—if not for themselves, then for the kids.