Stevie Wonder: All lives matter
Stevie Wonder urges London audience to choose ‘love over hate’ after a week of violence in the US.
July 13, 2016 – 11:38AM
Stevie Wonder has spoken in support of the Black Lives Matter movement while closing one of London’s biggest music festivals.
The Superstition singer instructed the 65,000-strong crowd at the British Summer Time Festival to choose love over hate and said he believed everyone had black ancestry.
‘Choose love over hate’ … Stevie Wonder spoke up passionately for peace and for the Black Lives Matter movement during a concert at the British Summer Time Festival. Photo: AP
“Yes, all life does matter, but the reason that I say ‘Black Lives Matter’ is because we are the original people of this world,” Wonder said on Sunday.
“So in essence, everyone here has some black in you. You’ve all got some soul in you, so stop denying your culture. Love yourselves, all of yourselves, no matter what colour you might be.”
The 66-year-old’s remarks come after the shooting death of two men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the hands of police last week. Five officers were then shot and killed at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Friday.
‘What I’m hopeful about is that we can make a difference’ … Stevie Wonder stops his headline concert at the British Summer Time Festival to speak in favour of Black Lives Matter movement. Photo: YouTube
Wonder played his critically-acclaimed 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety and said it broke his heart that the racism he sung about on the album was still rife 40 years later.
“The songs and the words that we talk about, those conditions still exist in the world and that hurts my heart.”
Niamke Ledbetter, of Oak Cliff, Texas, holds a sign at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Sunday. Photo: Dallas Morning News/AP
Stevie Wonder just cried while singing “Joy inside my tears”… How can you not cry too pic.twitter.com/Ld1oJlk4z1
— LA ROUX (@larouxofficial)
July 10, 2016
Dallas Police Chief David Brown also referenced one of Wonder’s songs at the memorial service for the five slain officers on Tuesday.
Reciting the singer’s 1977 hit As, Brown delivered the song’s powerful: “Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love / And maybe your children’s grandchildren / And their great-great grandchildren will tell them / I’ll be loving you.”
Wonder is the latest high-profile African-American to lend his powerful voice to the movement, which has reach fever pitch in the last seven days.
Beyonce has increasingly used her platform to encourage action, last week posting messages about the shooting on her website, urging fans to reach out to their local government.
“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us’,” she wrote.
“We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.”
The 34-year-old Houston born singer also held a moment of silence for victims at her Glasgow concert before performing her song Freedom in front of a giant billboard emblazoned with the names of victims.
Beyonce just paused her Glasgow show for a moment of silence, displaying victims of police brutality. She’s amazing pic.twitter.com/GMXT5uFNIK
— Relatable Quotes (@RelatableQuote)
July 7, 2016
Preaching positivity after the spate of shootings, Wonder told the star-studded crowd at London’s Hyde Park: “In this troubled time that we’re living in, I want to say to all of you that I love you all.”
“What I’m hopeful about is that we can make a difference. And if you too feel that we can make a difference, then all of you here, I encourage you to choose love over hate,” Wonder said.
“It’s just that simple. Choose love over hate, right over wrong, kind over meanness. Hope over no hope at all.”