Much like Stevie Wonder before him, Pharrell Williams wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to take a stand (or in his case, both knees) following President Trump’s criticism of athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Joining the more than 100 NFL players who demonstrated during their respective games on Sunday, the “Feels” singer went to his knees during his set at University of Virginia’s A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity charity show.
“I’m in Virginia right now. I’m home. Can’t nobody can tell me what to do if I wanted to get on my knees right now,” the Virginia Beach–born singer said as he lowered himself to the stage. (You can watch the moment at 11:34 in the video below.) “If I wanted to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state. That’s what that flag is for.” The crowd cheered in response. Because he’s Pharrell, he capped off the gesture with a segue into his sweetest, most positive, most encouraging hit. “When I think about the potential of this country, the potential of this state, the potential of these people, the potential of this amazing, amazing university, there’s only one word that I feel on the inside,” he concluded before launching into, of course, “Happy.”