Pharrell Williams took time during a benefit concert in his home state of Virginia to join a growing national response to the attacks made by President Donald Trump on NFL players and others over peaceful protests. The moment took place in Charlottesville, the center of a recent display of tense relations which sparked debate over the state of race relations in America.
Near the end of his enthusiastically received set — which included “Freedom” and his features on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — Pharrell Williams, who hails from Virginia Beach, took a swipe at the president’s inflammatory remarks about NFL players who kneel or sit in protest during the playing of the National Anthem.
Genuflecting before the wildly cheering crowd, Williams 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,” a reference to the Stars and Stripes. He never mentioned Trump.
Williams was backed up by The Roots band during his set, which ended with his global hit “Happy” from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. The A Concert For Charlottesville event was organized by Dave Matthews and featured stars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake, and others.
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