Jully Black is drawing attention for a subtle change she made to the lyrics of O Canada at Sunday’s NBA All-Star game.
The Juno Award-winning R&B singer performed the national anthem before the sport in Salt Lake City, Utah, and altered one line to acknowledge the Indigenous peoples who lived on the land before European settlers.
Black swapped out the anthem’s usual opening line “O Canada, our home and fatherland,” with “O Canada, our home on fatherland,” adding a slight emphasis to the word “on” when she sang.
The brand new lyrics appeared to attract a largely positive response on social media, where some viewers praised Black’s revised lyrics, and lots of used the hashtag #OurHomeOnNativeLand.
On YouTube, where the NBA posted a video of Black’s rendition, she received more praise. Many commenters said they were proud.
WATCH | Jully Black’s performance:
“Jully took Utah to church,” wrote one commenter.
The singer was not immediately available for comment, but on Monday on Twitter she wrote, “that is less about me and more about being an element of the change in any way I can.”
Positive response on social media
Rapper Chuck D, a member of U.S. hip-hop group Public Enemy, commended Black’s performance:
“My girl @JullyBlack just kicked essentially the most soulful O Canada I ever heard at 2023 #NBAAllStar game,” he tweeted.
Some criticized Black’s revision, though that is hardly the primary time the words in O Canada have been modified.
For example, in 2018 a years-long effort to make the anthem more inclusive, led by late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, became official when the second line was rewritten to make it gender-neutral.
The brand new wording of the anthem’s English version became “in all of us command” from “in all thy sons command.”