WASHINGTON — The Howard University Choir has been tapped to perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing," also known as the Black national anthem, before the first game of the NFL season for the Washington Football Team.
The game kicks off against the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m., but before the players take the field, the choir will perform.
It's part of The NFL's effort to recognize victims of police brutality, in addition to decals on helmets and jerseys.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, following a request from players, admitted in June that the league was wrong for not listening to players in the past and encouraged them to peacefully speak out. He said the league condemned racism and said the NFL believes Black lives matter.
Similar calls for change led to the Washington Football Team retiring its original name and logo after 82 years. The Washington Football Team also hired the first Black team president in NFL history, Jason Wright, in August.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" will be performed before every game in Week 1, which kicked off Thursday.
“This marks the first appearance by the Howard University Choir with the Washington Football Team, however, the choir has a long and prestigious history as an ambassador for the University and representative for the nation,” said Director Eric Poole, DMA, who will conduct the choir’s performance. “We’d like to thank the Washington Football Team for the opportunity to participate in their social justice initiatives at the start of this new season, and special thanks to Kornerstone Productions for the excellent work compiling our video presentation.”
Over the years, the choir has performed at major concert venues in the DMV and beyond, including the Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall and the National Gallery of Art and New York’s Carnegie Hall, Riverside Church and Abyssinian Baptist Church. They have also represented the United States in concert tours to Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; China, Russia, Tokyo, Japan; and Valencia, Spain.
The choir won't be performing for fans in the stands, though. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the team announced they will not allow fans to watch games in person at FedExField.