Black Musicians Incorporate ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ Into National Anthem at NASCAR Event

Two Black musicians added some soul seasoning to the national anthem by incorporating the Negro national anthem at the beginning of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.

Saxophonist Mike Phillips and pianist West Byrd performed the national anthem virtually before the race started. Byrd started by playing the first 16 bars of the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on his keyboard. Phillips then joined in by playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and at the conclusion of the song, Byrd ended it with the song penned by James Weldon Johnson in 1900.

Black Twitter was on it immediately, though NASCAR fans basically had no clue what had been done.