We've written a lot on this site about how little Beyoncé speaks. Where Beyoncé shows up and when she decides to speak reveal so much. Last night, Beyoncé showed up for Colin Kaepernick. She presented him with Sports Illustrated's Mohammed Ali Legacy award.
As you know, Colin Kaepernick – former star quarterback— is not currently playing in the NFL. Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of police brutality and racism in America cost him his job. His decision to kneel made him the face of a movement and the target of the hatred and bigotry so engrained in American history, it’s what moved him to kneel in the first place. Through all the noise and false rhetoric that has surrounded Kap’s protest, he has barely spoken. Like Beyoncé, he’s been very deliberate about his public engagements. He was named GQ’s Citizen of the Year and he let 10 influential people speak for him. When the narrative of his protest, one that started in response to the unarmed black men who are disproportionately shot by police, was twisted into chatter about disrespecting the U.S. flag or American troops, Kaepernick remained silent. He continued to work for his community wordlessly and powerfully by donating his time and money and by bravely taking on the NFL.
Last night, Beyoncé, someone who also knows the power of silence and is also a beacon of black excellence who continually uses her platform as a form of protest, chose these words to honour Colin Kaepernick:
"Thank you for your selfless heart, and your conviction. Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better, to change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up. It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America. So let’s be very clear, Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selflessly serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people. Let’s not get that mistaken.”
PREACH, QUEEN. I just googled Kap and one of the first things that came up was a headline that read Tomi Lahren slams Beyonce, Colin Kaepernick for hating police. No quotations to imply that the hating police part is her dumbass opinion, not fact. Out of context, if you don’t read further or know the details of the situation, you could read this and deduce that Beyoncé and Colin Kaepernick did or said something to remotely suggest an anti-police stance. They didn’t. This was not the point. And yet, it has become a part of the narrative. I would want to run through the streets screaming my intent if I was attempting to do something GOOD and it was twisted in this way. I would want to talk all the time. Isn’t it a basic human instinct to want to correct lies being spread about you? Instead, Colin Kaepernick has been patient and, like Beyonce said, SO selfless. He has faced the ultimate repercussions and sacrificed his passion and talent to stand up to a system designed for him to fail. At no point throughout his protest has Colin tried to make the conversation about him or his personal forfeiture. Even when BEYONCÉ presents him with an award, Colin Kaepernick upholds his humility.
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With our without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”
The new People’s Champ is here. Now is a good time to revisit Colin Kaepernick’s spread in GQ, which paid homage to Muhammad Ali’s anti-Vietnam War protests in Harlem.
Beyonce presents Colin Kaepernick with SI's Muhammad Ali Legacy awardpic.twitter.com/DfPfjx8pzJ— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) December 6, 2017