Lift Every Voice: Local teacher challenges HBCUs to perform Black National Anthem at events

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HOUSTON — A local teacher decided to change things up by singing the Black National Anthem at a Prairie View A & M game Wednesday night, and is asking others to follow his lead.

Phill Wade uses his powerhouse voice not only to entertain, but to take a stand.

The former American Idol Season 12 contestant  and comedian (best known for his Trey Songz impersonations) was chosen to sing the National Anthem to kick off the girl’s volleyball game against Incarnate Word, but decided to shock the crowd when he ditched “The Star Spangled Banner” in place of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“I wanted to go back to my HBCU and sing the Black National Anthem and start a challenge. I want to have it sang anywhere the National Anthem is being sung on campus and I want people to know this is not an effort to exclude or segregate ourselves, but just to acknowledge a vocal part of the history of our schools.”

Wade, a substitute teacher at Houston Can Academy, feels that America needs a healing and that people should no longer be silent with what’s happening across the country. He agrees with celebrities and other notable figures taking a stand, but also believes that the youth can also make their voices heard.

“I’m not against Colin [Kaepernick] taking a knee or anyone sitting down, I think everyone should take action and nobody should be idle. Everyone should support the cause,” Wade said.

He decided it was time to educate people on the movement — through song.

Standing in the middle of the William J. Nicks “Baby Dome” arena, he placed his hand across his heart and sang the song that reigned during the Civil Rights Movement.

The audience was moved, and stood with him in solidarity, holding their fists up in a symbolism of black power.

The PVAMU head volleyball coach, Tacho Tyler, supported his song choice and Wade says an older gentleman at the game told him “don’t mess it up.”

Wade doesn’t want anyone to mess anything up, he wants us to fix the problems by taking a stand.

“I’m speaking up for true justice and true liberty for all, just as the American anthem proposes,” Wade said. “I challenge all HBCUs to make the Black National Anthem relevant again.”

Anyone wanting to get involved, use #BlackNationalAnthem on social media.