Actress and singer Vanessa Williams will be singing the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” more commonly known as the Black National Anthem, as she hosts PBS’ 41st annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration.
Williams said that she is singing the song as a way to promote “Juneteenth” on the Fourth of July.
“It’s in celebration of the wonderful opportunity that we now have to celebrate Juneteenth. So we are reflective of the times,” she told the Associated Press.
Juneteenth was made a federal holiday this year and already took place on June 19.
“Williams serves as host this year but it’s not be the first time that she‘s brought current social changes to the festivities. At last year’s show, Williams said her musical selections expressed the angst that Black women — especially mothers — were feeling,” the AP report notes.
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Williams sang the song, “Not While I’m Around,” from the musical “Sweeney Todd,” because it “talked about just the connection that you have with your child and wanting to protect them, which was definitely reflective of George Floyd and how everybody felt that pain.”
The Capitol Fourth show is broadcast to millions of viewers on PBS, airs on multiple streaming platforms, and is played for troops around the world.