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 game in Salt Lake City, Utah, and altered one line to recognize 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 native land,” with “O Canada, our home on native land,” adding a slight emphasis to the word “on” when she sang.
The new lyrics appeared to draw a largely positive reaction on social media, where some viewers praised Black’s revised lyrics, and many 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, “this is less about me and more about being a part of the change in any way I can.”
Positive reaction 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 the most soulful O Canada I ever heard at 2023 #NBAAllStar game,” he tweeted.
My girl @JullyBlack just kicked the most soulful O Canada 🇨🇦 i ever heard at 2023 #NBAAllStar game
Some criticized Black’s revision, though this is hardly the first time the words in O Canada have been changed.
For instance, 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 new wording of the anthem’s English version became “in all of us command” from “in all thy sons command.”