The National Basketball Association announced that it would pause its season on March 11 due to coronavirus. Now, after setting up a complex bubble system in Orlando, Fla., the league has resumed games. To kick off the restart to the season, Jon Batiste delivered a remote performance of the National Anthem.
According to a press release, “Batiste… managed to infuse the traditional Star-Spangled Banner with “Lift Every Voice and Sing” like only someone with his talent and skill could.” The rendition was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Batiste enlisted a team of “all Black musicians and creatives for the performance of the anthem including, Kassa Overall on the drum machine, Malcolm Parson on cello, Jauvon Gilliam on timpani, with additional production by Law Parker and Sunny Levine, and director Jac Benson II.”
Batiste recently led ‘We Are’ musical protests in New York City in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is our response to the deep rooted systemic injustice we have yet to fix, a fact made abundantly clear by the public execution of another black person,” Batiste wrote of the protests. “This is a movement that exists because I believe the power of the arts and music is divine. Our ancestors used this power to create a better world for us and now we have the chance to do the same. We are the ones to change the world. We are the golden ones.”
Watch his performance of the National Anthem below!