Performing in his home state in Virginia, Pharrell Williams took a swipe at the president’s inciting remarks about NFL players who kneel or sit during the national anthem in protest of social injustice.
Near the end of his set at Dave Matthews‘ A Concert for Charlottesville on Sunday night, the Virginia Beach native said, “If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for,” referencing the Stars and Stripes. He never mentioned Donald Trump by name.
Williams and The Roots, who backed him, then launched into “Happy,” which Williams said was how he felt about performing in his home state.
His set also included “Freedom,” as well as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
The moment followed Pharrell’s unscripted moment at the VH1 “Hip Hop Honors” ceremony, where he began his tribute to Hype Williams with a special message to viewers about the white nationalists that protested violently in Charlottesville.
“I know it sounds like hijacking the moment on my Jon Snow s**t,” Williams said, referring to the pro-revolutionary character from HBO’s Game of Thrones. “They keep talking about a wall. But the enemy is this divisive mentality. It’s on this side of the wall… The white nationalists are walking towards your future. What you gonna do?”
He continued: “For everybody at home watching this and acting like y’all don’t see what’s going on out there, you gotta open your eyes,” he noted at the beginning of his speech. “Don’t think just because they’re coming at the African-Americans and they’re coming at the Jewish community and they’re coming at the Hispanics that it can’t be you.”
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(Photo Credit: Associated Press)