Entertainment

Musician Takes on Confederate Statue Protesters

Shannon Knight talks to LifeZette about how and why his viral video has struck a nerve

Statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other officers of the Confederate Army have been featured in cities throughout the South for decades — but not everyone sees these military figures as positive role models worthy of public display.

In recent months, city councils have been voting to remove such statues and to rename roads and monuments honoring people who served in the Confederate Army. And there are an awful lot of them — approximately 1,500 Confederate names and symbols prominently placed across the nation, according to sources.

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Cities that have announced plans to remove such statues with Confederate symbolism include Lexington, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin; New York City; Durham, North Carolina; Tampa, Florida; and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Is this really going to solve important problems? Are these statues really so terrible? Do all these streets really need to be renamed? After all, nobody gave much of a hoot for a long, long time. Suddenly — these things are targets.

Alabama gospel singer Shannon J. Knight from The Music City Show Quartet doesn’t think so. When he posted a video to Facebook telling protesters to “get a life. Get your life right. Get a job. Do something!” — instead of complaining about 150-year-old-statues — his words hit a nerve, and the video went viral.

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It has garnered over 1.3 million views in the last week, over 9,000 comments and more than 40,000 shares.

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“Stop your crazy nonsense!” Knight said in the four-minute rant.

He went on to say the heated arguments about Confederate statues and the violent protests from both sides of the political aisle come down to “a few bad apples” who are trying to set the country back.

“Those of you that got all this time to get on the street and tear down statues or fight one another, whether you’re white or black, get a life! Get your life right! Get a job! Do something!” Knight said in the video. “Because the majority of Americans are working together, black and white. They’re walking the streets together, shopping together, eating together, and just a couple of you crazy folks on both sides are making us all look bad.”

Related: Charlie Daniels Weighs In on the Taking Down of Confederate Statues

Knight shared with LifeZette exclusively his motivation behind the viral video: “I have been so encouraged by the thousands of people who have contacted me over the past few days in regards to our country living in peace,” he said.

He added: “I’ve been invited to dinner by African-Americans from different states, and I’ve made literally thousands of new friends. I am praying about a way to get [I hope] thousands of people from all races to come together for a huge event. We need to show the world that we can live in unity. If we make it big enough, the secular media can not ignore it. Please join me in praying about this. God bless America!!!”

His sentiments have clearly hit a nerve with people, which is exemplified not just by the video’s view count, but also by the actual comments from people who have watched it.

Facebook users Sharon Reeves said, “I could [sic] absolutely care less what your skin color is, because to me the color of your skin is not what determines whether I want you as my friend. Here’s what matters to me: the quality of your heart. If I don’t like you, it’s because of the person you are, not your skin color.”

Related: Why Johnny Cash’s Kids Are Weighing In on Charlottesville

Nikki McKeithan Spearman also said in response, “I pray for all those people of all colors who seem to not want to love, care and be kind to one another, who always want to start up strife and hate and keep people upset and hurting.”

Clearly this problem is not going away any time soon. The argument over Confederate statues has spidered into a whole lot more around the country. One example: Columbus, Ohio, will now not recognize Columbus Day, though it’s named after Christopher Columbus, of course. The city council voted Monday to refer instead to the holiday as Indigenous People’s Day.

Dave Taylor, based in Boulder, Colorado, has been writing about consumer electronics, technology and pop culture for many years and runs the popular site AskDaveTaylor.com.

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