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Songstress Jill Scott captivated the audience at the 2023 Essence Fest with her unnerving rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

On July 4, Kimberly Renise Hunt posted Scott’s daunting remix performance of the national anthem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The “He Loves Me” singer altered the chilling lyrics to shed light on the traumatic and oppressive past Black folks from the United States have faced since being transported to this country. 

Via TikTok, Hunt captioned the more than two-minute video, “Truth be told… Jill Scott has never held back from truth! I felt this in my soul. I actually had the chance [to] experience [the] rendition at her concert live, and she had [the] whole arena in awe! #jillscott #kimberlyrenise #fyp #nationalanthem #indenpendenceday.”

In the remix of the “Star Bangled Banner” lyrics, Scott soulfully sings, “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, but you’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 slave.”

TikTokers who viewed Scott’s gutwrenching performance were moved by the remix.

Mikaili wrote, “The ONLY national anthem I will stand for.”

Referencing Billie Holiday’s 1930s protest hit, Tee penned, “Strange Fruit Vibes! Powerful!”

“Guess we got our new anthem, thanks, Jill.”

Someone else wrote, “This just made my entire soul proud, and my eyes wail up.”

Hunt, a teacher based in Memphis, Tennessee, also shared the powerful clip to her Instagram. The excited educator revealed that her clip had gone viral. 

My post has gone viral y’all at almost 1.5 million views on TikTok! I was not expecting it to do the numbers it’s doing at all!!! @missjillscott thank you for being a true artist and translating real life into beautiful and soul-awakening music! So many mentions, shares, and repost! From friends to people I’ve never met! To big names like @essence @revolttv @blackhomeeducators and so many more!!!”

Scott shared an image of herself performing at the Essence Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

As the Philly native kicked off her 23rd “Who Is Jill Scott? Tour,” she stopped by the popular Independence Day weekend event in New Orleans to open up for Missy Elliott at the Superdome.

The #WhoIsJillScott 23rd Anniversary Tour wouldn’t have been complete without a stop at @essencefest. And what a privilege opening for THE icon and legend @missymisdemeanorelliott 📷 Getty Images for ESSENCE.”

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