Stevie Wonder tells fans to 'choose love' at BST concert
Stevie Wonder urged his fans to "choose love" as he spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign at his Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park concert in London on Sunday night (10.07.16).
The 66-year-old music legend opened his show by speaking out about the need for the world for come together in peace in the wake of the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the subsequent murders of five America police officers at a protest in Dallas last Thursday (07.07.16).
Stevie told the 65,000 capacity crowd that "black lives matter because we are the original people" and as he prepared to play his classic 1976 LP 'Songs in the Key of Life' in its entirety he admitted it "hurt his heart" that society had still not solved many of the issues he tackles on the record such as social justice for the poor and the call for love and respect between all people.
He said: "Before I start the concert I'd like to say to all of you a few simple things. In this troubled time I want to say to all of you that I love you all. And I love you because I was blessed to be blind, it was a gift so that I could show those of you who have everything you have the blessing you have to use them all. That every day is to please God and to use the gift of song that he has given me to encourage you to move forward.
"In one sense I'm very happy that (tracks on) 'Songs in the Key of Life are still significant almost 40 years later. In another sense I'm not happy about that. The reason is that the songs and the words that we talk about, those conditions still exist in the world and that hurts my heart.
Then urging his fans to spread love throughout the world, he added: "What I'm hopeful about is that we can make a difference. And if you too feel that we can make a difference, I encourage you to choose love over hate. It's just that simple. Choose love over hate, right over wrong, kind over meanness. Hope over no hope at all. Which brings me to another point, yes, all life does matter, but the reason that I say black lives matter is because we are the original people of this world. So in essence, everyone here has some black in you! You've all got some soul in you so stop denying your culture. So love yourselves and all your family. That's what I say."
Stevie then sat at his keyboard to play a poignant version of 'Love's in Need of Love Today', the first track from the LP which kicked off a mammoth four-hour set.
Highlights from 'Songs in the Key of Life' included 'Sir Duke' - which prompted fans to sing along to the famous horn section of the track - 'Knocks Me Off My Feet', 'Pastime Paradise', 'Isn't She Lovely' and 'As'.
As well as playing the whole album in full, Stevie also added in four extra tracks from the album's EP and special moments included him being reduced to tears as he sang a heart-wrenching version of 'Joy Inside My Tears' and a Latin-funk playback of 'Another Star' - the closing track on the LP - which prompted some fans to conga around Hyde Park.
Then, calling himself "DJ Tick Tick Boom", Stevie played recordings of 'Kiss' and 'When Doves Cry' in tribute to his late friend Prince.
He closed his phenomenal show with a greatest hits medley of 'Part Time Lover', 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' and 'Superstition'.
As he left the stage to rapturous applause, Stevie spoke to his adoring fans one more time, saying: "I love you. Maybe next year, we'll do it again. Are you with me on that?"