Vanessa Williams’ performance on Independence Day was criticized even before it happened.
Williams hosted PBS’s “A Capitol Fourth” on Sunday, and it had been announced that she would sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which has become the “black national anthem.”
In the pre-show promo, Williams talked about the song’s inclusion.
“It’s a celebration of the wonderful opportunity we now have to celebrate Juneteenth,” the former Miss America said, according to USA Today. “So we are a reflection of the times.”
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of African American slaves and was declared a federal holiday in the United States this year.
Twitter conservatives jumped on the “national anthem” part and declared that it was “divisive”, “segregating” and “racist” to have any anthem other than “The Star Spangled Banner” which was scheduled to be performed by the Grammy winner Renée Fleming.
However, others supported Williams, pointing out that the whole thing was because social media was doing what they do best: getting outraged.
Opening the song, Williams, who also performed “God Bless America” earlier on the show, said it was “filled with the spirit of freedom and perseverance that is required to achieve that precious right.”
“I dedicate this to our ancestors, to our new federal Juneteenth holiday, and to all who celebrate freedom,” she said.
“A Capitol Fourth” has been on the air for more than four decades and is heavily promoted each year by the PBS network.
Citizen Free Press has reached out to representatives for Williams and PBS for comment.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.