Living legend Stevie Wonder was performing in London over the weekend as a headliner for the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park, but his thoughts were closer to home. In the wake of the deaths of Philando Castile, who was killed at a traffic stop in front of his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter; and Alton Sterling, a father of five who was killed by police in a convenience store parking lot; as well as the five police officers who were shot dead by a deranged sniper at a protest in Dallas on Thursday, the singer delivered a poignant message of unity, love and peace.
“Before I start the concert I’d like to say to all of you a few simple things. In this troubled time I want to say to all of you that I love you all,” he began.
He then explained, succinctly, why the Black Lives Matter movement is important.
“Choose love over hate, right over wrong, kind over meanness. Hope over no hope at all. Which brings me to another point… All life does matter. But the reason that I say ‘black lives matter’ is because we are the original people of this world. So in essence, everyone here has some black in you. You’ve all got some soul in you, so stop denying your culture.”
It’s not the first time the Grammy winner has lent his voice to the BLM movement: In 2013, he boycotted a show in Florida, claiming he would not return to the Sunshine State until the “Stand Your Ground” law, which protected George Zimmerman after he shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, is abolished.