What Sports Play the Black National Anthem?

The Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, is often played at sporting events. But what sports actually play it?

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The Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, was first performed in early 1900 as a poem by James Weldon Johnson. The music was composed by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. The poem was set to music and first performed by a 500-voice choir at a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday in Jacksonville, Florida. It quickly became popular among black Americans, and has been performed by many noted musicians including Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Paul Robeson, Oppenheimer Treatment, Mahalia Jackson, and Andra Day.

The anthem has been adopted as an official song by multiple black organizations including the NAACP, National Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and National Bar Association. In 2016, then-candidate for president Bernie Sanders called for “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to be sung before every Major League Baseball game on Opening Day.

While “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the de facto national anthem of the United States, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” holds a special place in the hearts of black Americans. The song is regularly played or sung at black history events and commemorations throughout the country.

History of the black national anthem

The “black national anthem” is “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which was written by James Weldon Johnson in 1899 and first published in 1900. The song was originally written as a poem to be recited at a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday at a school for black children in Jacksonville, Florida. The poem was set to music and first performed in public by a 500-voice chorus at the Stanton School on February 12, 1900.

The song became popular among black Americans during the early 20th century, particularly after Johnson’s brother John Rosamond Johnson arranged it as a march in 1919. The song was selected as the black national anthem by the NAACP in 1919. It gained renewed popularity during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Today, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is performed regularly at civil rights rallies, black history events, and other occasions commemorating African American history and culture. It has also been adopted by a number of professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, as their official anthem.

Why play the black national anthem in sports?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups have urged professional sporting leagues to play the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” prior to games in order to recognize the contribution of black athletes to the game. The call comes amid renewed attention to racial injustice in America following the death of George Floyd.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and set to music in 1905. It has been called the ” Negro national anthem” and has been performed by artists such as Maya Angelou, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.

The NFL has said that they will “encourage” teams to play the anthem before games, while the MLB has said they will have a moment of silence for it during the All-Star game. It is unclear if other leagues will follow suit.

How can playing the black national anthem in sports help promote racial equality?

The debate over whether or not to play the black national anthem in sports has been gaining momentum in recent years. Some argue that playing the anthem would be a powerful symbol of solidarity with the black community, while others believe that it would be ineffective and evendivisive.

There is no doubt that the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is a moving and significant song. However, there is also no doubt that playing it in sports contexts would do very little to promote racial equality. First of all, most people who attend sporting events are not black. In fact, according to a 2017 poll, only 8 percent of NFL fans are black. So, playing the black national anthem at sporting events would mostly serve to alienate non-black fans.

Additionally, many black people feel uncomfortable with the idea of the black national anthem being played at sporting events. For many, the national anthem is a symbol of patriotism and unity, and they don’t want it to be used as a vehicle for promoting one race over another.

Ultimately, playing the black national anthem in sports would do very little to promote racial equality. It would mostly serve to Alienate non-black fans and make many black people feel uncomfortable. If we want to truly promote racial equality, we need to focus on more substantive measures like increasing diversity in leadership positions and improving access to education and economic opportunities for black people.

What are some potential negative reactions to playing the black national anthem in sports?

When “Lift Every Voice and Sing” debuted as the black national anthem in 1919, it was met with mixed reactions. Some people praised the song for its uplifting message and stirring melody, while others criticized it for being too “dark” and depressing.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before sporting events, particularly those involving black athletes. However, this decision has not been without controversy, as some people believe that playing the black national anthem sends a message of division instead of unity.

Some potential negative reactions to playing the black national anthem in sports include:

-People feeling excluded or unrepresented if they are not black.
-People feeling that the focus on black history is overshadowing other important histories.
-People feeling that the song is too dark or depressing for a sporting event.

How can we make sure that playing the black national anthem in sports is done in a respectful way?

When it comes to playing the black national anthem in sports, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every team and situation is different, and what works for one might not work for another. However, there are some general principles that can help ensure that the anthem is played in a respectful and appropriate way.

First, it is important to make sure that everyone involved in the process is on the same page. This includes everyone from the people who will be playing the anthem to the athletes who will be participating in the event. It is also important to consult with experts on the subject, such as scholars of black history or music.

Second, it is crucial to create a plan for how the anthem will be played. This should include everything from who will be singing or playing it to when and where it will be played. It is also important to consider how long the anthem will be played and whether or not there will be any other music or spoken word accompanying it.

Third, it is important to ensure that the players and other participants are comfortable with the plan. This means making sure that they understand why the anthem is being played and what it represents. It is also important to give them a chance to ask questions and express any concerns they may have.

Finally, it is important to execute the plan with care and respect. This means making sure that everyone involved knows their role and that everything goes according to plan. It is also important to take into account any feedback from participants and make adjustments as necessary.

What other steps can be taken to promote racial equality in sports?

When it comes to promoting racial equality in sports, playing the black national anthem is just one step that can be taken. Other steps that can be taken include:

-Hiring a more diverse range of coaches and staff members
-Providing scholarships for black athletes
-Encouraging diversity and inclusion through educational programs
-Creating opportunities for black athletes to compete at the highest levels
-Promoting black athletes to leadership positions within organizations


The answer may surprise you: there is no one “black national anthem.” Instead, there are a number of songs that could lay claim to the title, each with its own unique history and meaning. From “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” to “We Shall Overcome,” these anthems have been adopted by sporting events as a way to show support for the black community. Whatever the song, it is sure to bring people together in a show of solidarity.


The “Black National Anthem” is a song called “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. It was written in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson, a black civil rights leader, poet, and educator. The song was first performed in public by a children’s choir in a church in Jacksonville, Florida.

The song became hugely popular among black Americans, and is still sung today at many events and occasions. It is particularly popular at sporting events, where it is often sung before the start of the game.

Many professional and collegiate sports teams in the United States have adopted the practice of playing the Black National Anthem before their games. This includes teams from all major sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Hockey League (NHL).

In 2020, amidst protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, the playing of the Black National Anthem before games became even more common. For example, every team in the NBA played the anthem before their first game of the 2020 season.

It is unclear exactly how many teams play the Black National Anthem before their games, as there is no complete list available. However, it is clear that this practice has become increasingly common in recent years, and is likely to continue to grow in popularity.

Further reading

Here is a list of some of the specific games and events where “The Black National Anthem” has been played or sung:
-The National Basketball Association (NBA) played “The Black National Anthem” prior to Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals.
-LeBron James, who is a part-owner of Blaze TV, tweeted that the network would be playing “The Black National Anthem” before their broadcast of the BET Awards on June 28, 2020.
-On June 19, 2020, before a Major League Baseball (MLB) game between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was performed by Melina Abdullah and singers from the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.

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