(HBCU Buzz)—Saying that she originally had the melody to the Black National Anthem wrong, one of the most influential people in the country revealed on Monday the deeply personal story behind the star’s performance at Coachella.
“One day I was randomly singing the black national anthem to Rumi while putting her to sleep,” Beyoncé said in an interview with Vogue. “I started humming it to her every day. In the show at the time I was working on a version of the anthem with these dark minor chords and stomps and belts and screams. After a few days of humming the anthem, I realized I had the melody wrong.”
“I was singing the wrong anthem,” she admitted. “One of the most rewarding parts of the show was making that change. I swear I felt pure joy shining down on us. I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella. But they understood the feeling it gave them.”
According to Bazar, the song originated as a poem written by a school principal named James Weldon Johnson in 1899, who was asked to deliver a speech on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but he decided to pen a poem instead with a call to action. His brother, John Rosamond Johnson, put the words to music, writes Eileen Reslen of Bazar.
“Lift ev’ry voice and sing,” and thank God for the country’s 107 black colleges, the last cultural jewel black people have left in this country.