Denasia Lawrence performed the national anthem before an NBA preseason game between the 76ers and Heat on Friday night while kneeling at midcourt. She then opened her jacket to show a shirt bearing the phrase "Black Lives Matter." Lawrence explained her actions in a Facebook post:
When I took the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Heat game, it was bigger than me. Right now, we’re seeing a war on Black & Brown bodies— we’re being unjustly killed and overly criminalized. I took the opportunity to sing AND kneel; to show that we belong in this country AND that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us. I took the opportunity to sing AND kneel to show that, I too, am America. As a social worker, I’ve worked with youth, families and veterans, and everyday they all teach me the value of fighting against injustice— that all are treated equally no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.
I didn’t get paid to sing the national anthem; nor was this moment about any sort of fame. Black Lives Matter is far larger than a hashtag, it’s a rallying cry. And until our cry is rightfully heard, protests will still happen and demands will still be made!
Watch her performance below.