Jessie Reyez makes history and performs on top of CN Tower

The singer opened the NBA playoffs and honoured Breonna Taylor.
August 18, 2020 10:25 a.m. EST
August 19, 2020 12:50 p.m. EST
Monday was night one of the Toronto Raptors versus the Brooklyn Nets series in the NBA playoffs and saw the returning champs secure a win with a final score of 134 versus 110. It’s possible the Canadian team felt a boost before hitting the court thanks to JUNO winner and Grammy nominee Jessie Reyez, who literally took to historic heights to sing both the U.S. and Canadian national anthems. We see thee rise, and rise, and rise 116 storeys. O Jessie!Reyez shared the chill-inducing video on her Instagram, which showed the singer bravely and beautifully performing both anthems while strapped to the main pod of the CN Tower. That’s 356 meters, 1,168 feet and a total of 116 storeys above ground with a single rope securing the singer, who delivered an emotional and flawless performance that etalk learned took about 13 days to put together.
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Not only did Reyez make history as the first artist to perform the national anthems atop the CN Tower, as opposed to, you know, being photoshopped sitting on the edge, she also used the instantly iconic moment to advocate for BIPOC killed by police and continued to push the Black Lives Matter movement into the mainstream spotlight.Reyez began the performance wearing a black mask with Breonna Taylor’s name printed across the front and, it turns out, was also wearing a jersey with Breonna's name printed on the back. Taylor was fatally shot while at home asleep in her bed by three Louisville police officers who issued a no-knock raid on Taylor’s home. Officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove have yet to be charged for Taylor’s death.[video_embed id='1977627']RELATED: Megan Thee Stallion, more celebs attend All Black Lives Matter protest[/video_embed]Not only did Reyez honour Taylor, but as the camera zoomed out to reveal a wider shot of the singer, the Brampton native could be seen kneeling throughout both anthems and was asked by the Raptors if she'd take a knee in solidarity."I just wanted the moment to speak for itself," she told etalk in an exclusive statement.Reyez’s physical show of support for those protesting police brutality is in line with many of the players and officials in the NBA. Although kneeling during the anthem is against the rules in the NBA, when the season restarted in July, players and coaches kneeled during the national anthem while wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. Kneeling during the anthem became a symbol of non-violent protest in 2016 when NFL player Colin Kaepernick famously began kneeling, a move that largely cost the football player his career.The WNBA is also raising awareness for social injustice and helping to keep Taylor’s memory alive. The players have dedicated their 2020 season to Taylor, wearing shirts to honour the late EMT. The floor of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where all of this season’s games will be played, has been painted with the words Black Lives Matter.Reyez is one of the many celebrities helping to keep Taylor’s name in the news and demand justice for the 26-year-old. Oprah, Cardi B, Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Retta, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence and many more have used their platforms to advocate for justice for Breonna and other people of colour who have been killed while in police custody. In June, Beyoncé wrote a letter to the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron urging him to press charges against the officers who killed Taylor.Reyez has had a busy summer. She appeared in Beyoncé’s glorious Black Is King visual album on Disney+, after having been featured by Bey on her The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack in 2019, and returned for the extended project this year playing the role of Scar.She also performed the title track from her debut album Before Love Came To Kill Us as part of eTalk’s Open House series in July and was part of the Change & Action: Racism in Canada special on CTV where she thoughtfully spoke about the need for more BIPOC executives in the Canadian music industry and touched on the impact of white privilege.[video_embed id='1987727']RELATED: Jessie Reyez says her connection with Billie Eilish is a 'rare' thing[/video_embed]

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