Driven by a desire to transcend current divisive political and social discourse, this article analyzes Denasia Lawrence’s 2016 U.S. national anthem performance and Black Lives Matter protest. Lawrence knelt while performing the anthem to protest biased policing practices in the U.S. In engaging Lawrence’s actions and statements about this event through rhetorical criticism, I employ theories of intercultural hybridity (threshold identity and disidentification) and invitational rhetoric to demonstrate the inherent potentials for political activism in her act. I assert that Lawrence’s embodied performance invites viewers to re/consider the multilayered implications of her protest, and to hopefully engage with differences more openly. Lawrence’s choice to actively engage in a non-violent protest of pervasive racial injustices in the United States, while simultaneously singing the national anthem, is representative of new potentials for other activists who seek to authentically perform hybrid identities.
Forst, Michael L.
"Kneeling But Still Singing: Threshold Identity, Disidentification, and Invitation in U.S. American National Anthem Protest,"
Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research: Vol. 16, Article 2.
Available at: https://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/kaleidoscope/vol16/iss1/2