Jill Scott’s new national anthem goes viral on July 4

The singer has performed the song numerous times this year, with her latest moment at Essence Festival once again putting her rendition in the spotlight.

Jill Scott’s new rendition of the national anthem once again went viral over the weekend following a must-see performance of it at Essence Festival.

Just in time for July 4, Jill Scott’s powerful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is making its way across the internet once again. While opening for Missy Elliott at the New Orleans festival, Scott sang her version of the anthem that just went viral earlier this year. The lyrics, unlike the original words by Francis Scott Key, reflect the Black experience in America, specifically of enslaved people and descendants of the enslaved.

2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ - Caesar's Superdome - Day 2
Jill Scott performs onstage during day 2 of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ at Caesars Superdome on July 1, 2023, in New Orleans. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

The lyrics, which originally read, “O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light / What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,” are adjusted to, “Oh, say can you see, by the blood in the streets / That this place doesn’t smile on you, colored child.”

“Whose blood built this land with sweat and their hands,” the lyrics continue. “But we’ll die in this place and your memory erased / Oh, say, does this truth hold any weight / This is not the land of the free but the home of the slaves.”

Before singing her rendition, Scott revealed she wrote this version when she was 19 years old, now making it a 32-year-old song. Just like when she sang it during her “This Is Jill Scott” tour earlier this year, the anthem has now gone viral from Essence Festival footage.

On the heels of the latest SCOTUS ruling against affirmative action and near constant police violence, the song seems to resonate now more than ever with her fans and listeners. The singer trended on Twitter over the weekend, with many saying the song gave them “chills.”

Another user wrote, “The beautiful and talented Jill Scott has a different version of the Star Spangled Banner that #BlackAmericans can definitely relate to.”

Check out the rendition, posted by Essence, here.

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