There have been many musical moments this past NBA All Star Weekendwhether it be Janelle Monae at work during the celebrity game or Burna Boy, Rema and Tems spotlighting the halftime show. However, the one that stood out to some people the most was the pre-game performance of “O Canada” by Canadian R&B icon Jully Black. Her vocal performance went off without a hitch, but it was what she sang that sparked a reaction.
The first line of the song usually says, “O Canada! Our home and native land!” However, Black instead sang, “O Canada! Our home on native land,” seemingly a nod to the indigenous peoples who lived in the country before the arrival of European settlers.
People liked the change. One Twitter user wrote: “Today in #popculturehistory @JullyBlack sings the Canadian anthem to the #NBAAllStar and made the lyrics more inclusive while reminding us all that we are indeed in homeland.” Another tweeted: “Jully Black just changed the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem singing ‘Oh Canada, our home in native land’ and I thought it was beautiful. [Canadian flag emoji].”
Chuck D also dug into the performance, tweeting, “My daughter @JullyBlack just kicked the most emotional O Canada I’ve ever heard at the 2023 #NBAAllStar game.”
Prior to the performance, Black explained how she would approach her performance:
“I’m going to close my eyes…and represent these two minutes for the whole world to see the joy that can come as a little black girl.”
unique to toronto @JullyBlack sing this year’s All-Star Game anthem! pic.twitter.com/DoahYGvzX4
— THE CHANGE (@theshift_sports) February 20, 2023