Pharrell Williams performs with The Roots at "A Concert for Charlottesville," at University of Virginia's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., Sept. 24, 2017.
Kevin Mazur—Getty Images
By Kevin Lui
September 25, 2017

Pharrell Williams dropped to both knees during his set at the Concert for Charlottesville Sunday night, joining in protests against President Trump’s criticism of NFL athletes who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.

“I wanna get on my knees right now,” Williams said while performing at the concert, an event hosted by Dave Matthews Band promoting unity in the wake of last month’s deadly white supremacist protests and clashes in the Virginia town.

“If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what that flag is for,” the singer said, referring to the U.S. national flag.

 

Billboard reports that the gesture, greeted with cheers from the audience, came toward the end of Williams’ set, which included his hits “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines.” The singer, who is from Virginia Beach, did mention Trump or his comments.

He then performed his wildly popular track “Happy,” telling the audience that it was how he felt about performing in his home state.

Williams’ protest came hours after Stevie Wonder did the same at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park. “Tonight I’m taking a knee for America,” Wonder said. “But not just one knee, both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe.

On Sunday, more than 200 NFL players took the knee or silently protested the national anthem before their games in defiance of the President, who denounced such protests and called for athletes who took part to be fired or suspended.

 

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