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‘I Didn’t Change the Anthem, I Spoke the Truth,’ Jully Black on Her Viral Rendition of ‘O Canada’

Jully Black spills the tea on her NBA All-Star Performance!

TORONTO — Jully Black set the internet on fire with her NBA All-Star Game performance over the weekend. Taking to the court to sing the national anthem, Black changed the lyrics of O’Canada from “our home and native land” to “our home on native land.” 

Black joined us on The Brandon Gonez Show this morning to spill the tea on the moment that everyone is talking about. 

She explained that when the anthem was changed from “in all our sons command” to “in all of us command,” she retrained her brain to the new lyrics. While Black understood the need for that amendment, she explained that she had a hard time with the fact that the lyrics had not also been changed to acknowledge the land we live on. 

“I knew that it was time to do this,” Black said.

Black shared that she consulted Indigenous friends ahead of the performance to get their thoughts on the change, and they were touched.

“The tears… Like ‘Jully you would do that, you’d make that sacrifice?’, it didn’t feel sacrificial.”

She explained that the brief pause after those lyrics was also intentional, to ensure that the weight of her change landed with the audience. 

She also has an important message for those who are not impressed with her performance. 

“I didn’t change the anthem, I spoke the truth.”

“It wasn’t written correctly, how about that? Let’s go back to the songwriter and say ‘fix up, brudda!’”

Reaction to Black’s Performance of ‘O Canada

Black explained that the reaction to her performance has been overwhelmingly positive, and she’s happy to see it’s sparking conversations amongst people who had not previously considered that part of the national anthem. 

“Conversations are happening. Many white people, in spaces that I wouldn’t expect, say ‘I’m talking to my kids about this, my husband and I had a conversation about this, we paused and rewound the performance,’ all of that is breath-taking, this is what we want,” Black shared.

“You can put out music and do performances and tour the world and not impact change,” she continued, explaining that she feels her purpose in life is to be a bridge. 

Black shared that she also feels it’s her responsibility to continue to learn. 

“I’m here as a student, but as a privileged student. And oftentimes people don’t associate the word ‘privilege’ with Black people, [but] I’m privileged to be Jully Black. Being Jully Black is a privilege. Yes, I worked hard, but I have an opportunity to stand in the gap.” 

Is a Permanent Change Needed?

Since the Sunday performance, some people are calling for a permanent change to O’Canada. 

Black shared that while she’s glad to have sparked a conversation, she doesn’t want the focus to be on what she did, but on why she did it. 

“So we change the anthem, we change the word, and then what?”

“Is there clean running water? What’s going on with all of the things needed in education?” Black continued, adding that changing the one word is not good enough. 

Brandon and Jully dug into her All-Star Game performance on this episode of The Brandon Gonez Show. Many people are praising Black for the move, while others feel that the lyric change was in bad taste. Let us know in the comments, how do you feel?



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