In commemoration of this year’s annual Juneteenth celebration and it’s status as an official National Holiday, it was only fitting that Mike Phillips released his rendition of this classic song. “If we truly listen to this song and take heed to the words, it can be a road map to fairness and equality, which can only lead to a better America for everyone,” mentions Mike Phillips. This powerful masterpiece was written by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson and produced by Hamilton Hardin and arranged by Mike Phillips and Hamilton Hardin.
In June 2020 after an incident that caused NASCAR to take a close look at themselves and the imagery that surrounds the fans and events, Mike was invited to perform the National Anthem as he has done for dozens of NBA, NFL and NHL games over the years. What they did not expect was Mike with West Byrd accompanying him on piano extending the anthem to include snippets of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the Black National Anthem at the start and end of the iconic song. This peaceful act of defiance was quickly observed by black NASCAR fans around the country and shared on social media while many other fans were left scratching their heads wondering what they had just witnessed. “When I snuck the song into the NASCAR performance of the anthem, I was kind of outraged that the executives didn’t recognize it. But, it served as the perfect educational moment about the existence of the song and the importance of it and its historical context,” adds Mike.
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