Two Musicians Slipped The Tune Of 'Lift Every Voice And Sing' Into Their NASCAR National Anthem Performance And Twitter Can't Stop Cackling
Legendary saxophonist Mike Phillips and pianist West Byrd managed to sneak in an iconic Black intro into the national anthem.
Some NASCAR fans did a double take on Sunday afternoon during the performance of the national anthem thanks to saxophonist Mike Phillips and pianist West Byrd.
The two legendary musicians were tasked with playing the national anthem and did a phenomenal job, producing a gorgeous rendition of the tune ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.
But shortly after, social media was flooded with Black NASCAR fans who noticed that before and after the national anthem was played, Phillips and Byrd slipped in a few chords from the Black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
Several fans noticed it, but many were amused that most white people watching had no idea what the tune was.
I love that they included lift every voice. This was gorgeous— Timoteo Cruz (@trombone_wav) June 28, 2020
So they quoted that as an intro, then went into the melody of the anthem? Musicians, man. That's just perfect for the moment.— Tom wears a mask out of love & respect for others (@tomryberg) June 29, 2020
lol I more love that folks aint figured it out yet— Timmy Gawd Of The Wind And Sea (@SnizzyIzzy) June 28, 2020
That intro went right over a lot of people’s head. But it was fabulous— LJSheppard (@LouisJSheppard) June 28, 2020
Soon after, Phillips took to Twitter to quietly confirm what Black people were saying.
Let us march on till victory is won.— Mike Phillips (@m_dot_philly) June 29, 2020
He then responded under a few tweets about the anthem performance, confirming that he and Byrd did include the intro to "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
Lil sumthin for da people...— Mike Phillips (@m_dot_philly) June 29, 2020
That national anthem for @PoconoRaceway @NASCAR by @m_dot_philly and @WestUnlimited was incredible! Great arrangement! I heard what you did there West! A little Lift Every Voice and a sprinkle of John Clayton in the harmony. Brilliant!! I am ready for race day!!! @NASCARONFOX— Justin (@JRod860) June 28, 2020
Even fans who didn't know anything about "Lift Every Voice and Sing" loved the rendition. But Black fans were particularly happy with the move, especially considering the current news surrounding NASCAR.
The league has made moves in recent weeks to address racism within the sport, angering some white fans by banning the Confederate flag from all races.
NASCAR was forced to call the FBI two weeks ago when one of the team members for Bubba Wallace, the sport's only full-time Black driver, found a noose in his garage.
For many Black NASCAR fans, the anthem was the icing on the cake of long-desired changed.
NASCAR went from having their events littered with confederate flags to playing lift every voice and sing in a span of less than 30 days.... pic.twitter.com/5W6ariElaI— none (@ejayjones49) June 28, 2020
Wallace has been integral in getting NASCAR executives to remove the Confederate flag and make efforts to rid the sport of inequality. NASCAR recently hired a Black vice president of diversity and inclusion on top of other efforts to promote inclusivity, TSN reported.