Before the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets tipped off for the first game of the NBA's restart, the players wore Black Lives Matter shirts and took a knee during the national anthem.
There was another story unfolding behind the kneeling players and it was a deeply personal one.
Frisco native Britney Holmes was on the video screen, singing the national anthem, at a time when she hopes to redefine the pregame tradition and recent flash-point.
“My career in the music industry basically started with the national anthem,” she said.
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Holmes, at 9 years old, began to sing the national anthem for pro sports, amateur sports teams and major events.
“As a young girl, singing in front of thousands of people, I felt this overwhelming sense of strength and power that I could bring people together with my voice and this song,” Holmes said.
A few weeks ago, she recorded a video of herself singing the national anthem but paused before she posted it.
“Being biracial, my dad is Black and my mom is white, I have a very unique perspective. I would never want to add insult to injury and harm my own people or add more pain to an already painful time in history that we’re living through,” Holmes said.
She said she researched the history of the lyrics, the original author and the verses that many don’t know by heart. She also read arguments for and against rewriting or replacing “The Star-Spangled Banner."
Holmes reached out to activist and author Kevin Powell and recorded a discussion about the history of the anthem and its role in the current racial climate in the U.S.
“I said, 'I’m going to post my version of the national anthem and include this conversation at the end that may offer people a perspective that they may not have had,'" Holmes said.
Friday night, she watched players from both teams kneel as the video of her singing the anthem played behind them.
“I was happy and proud of the Dallas Mavericks and of all the players,” Holmes said. “Tons of people have fought for this country, both Black and white and all in between. I think it’s important to honor and respect everyone. I think kneeling during the national anthem is the new way to do that.”
Holmes said she hoped to inspire people to think deeply about their feelings on the anthem and taking a knee. She asked those who are outraged to ask themselves if they are also outraged by police brutality.
“That same outrage and that same disgust, where is that same feeling towards George Floyd and that situation and everything that’s going on regarding race and police brutality?” asked Holmes. “The national anthem to me is supposed to represent the home of the brave, land of the free. I think that the players kneeling during the national anthem redefines what this song means in 2020.”