June 22nd, 2024

‘Our home on native land’: Singer Jully Black makes small change to O Canada lyrics

By The Canadian Press on February 20, 2023.

Jully Black is photographed in Toronto on Friday Jan. 17, 2020. Black made a small change to the lyrics of O Canada at Sunday's NBA All-Star Game.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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 “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.

The singer was not immediately available for comment.

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.

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 Belanger 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.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2023.

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