“I am happy but I have a little melancholy.” Sergio Sylvestre he does not pretend that everything is going well, after that emotion felt to be “the first black man to sing the national anthem”. Everything, in an empty stadium, a plastic manifestation of the devastation that we have all gone through. His uncertainty for that scenario has been confused by many because of a vacuum of memory. And there are many who attacked him, with shameful and racist insults. “Maybe many people have forgotten the situation we went through with Covid – he explains -. I heard the voice that sounded that way, with an echo that was even louder for the empty stadium, I succumbed to the emotion “.
Can you describe it?
«I am an American, black, and I live in Italy, a country I love to die for. If I had believed that I was unable to sing the hymn I would never have accepted. Instead when they asked me I said yes immediately and immediately I committed myself, given the responsibility I had. I repeat: I was the first black man to sing the Italian Cup anthem, a huge responsibility. Then I was there, after making my first trip after four months spent alone in the house, but I couldn’t say goodbye to anyone. I saw the players on the pitch and all those empty seats … suddenly in my mind flashes of what we went through started and those empty seats suddenly became a symbol of the people who missed “.
The emotion took over for a few moments …
«I realize that not everyone can understand, but I am grateful that it happened to me, because this experience made me grow even more. I certainly hadn’t forgotten the words, those I printed on my head. The emotion was bigger than me. I accept criticism, but not everyone knows what it means to be a boy born with the skin of a color that when people look is immediately afraid, or at least prejudiced. Singing there was important to me. When I got stuck it was because I was moved, I felt like crying ».
What image do you have left?
«Footballers in a vacuum. I am an ex football player, I know what it means to have the public that supports you. There was no one and there was no one for Covid. I had a meltdown of emotion, a strange thing, never happened even when I won Amici or in Sanremo. I have never felt such a strong emotion. “
But today you have some melancholy left …
«I have seen so much badness, which I generally don’t see in Italians. In a time when I think it is even more important to understand that we must all be united. Maybe I was unable to sing the hymn in the best way, maybe I will be able to do it as soon as possible, but basically my duty is to excite and I think I did it. If I am guilty it is because I am human and sensitive. That’s why I’m happy. But I don’t understand anger, malice, negativity ».
Matteo Salvini posted the video of his performance and wrote: “Get the hymn wrong and say goodbye with your clenched fist! But where did they find it?!? Poor Italy!”
«To Salvini I say that maybe he should get better information. He should try to understand what that punch or a movement like Black Lives Matter means. But deep down he can’t, he can’t understand what it’s like to be black. But I was born this way. When George Floyd died he saw that all the posts did, I don’t know if he did it too. But in general he should be better informed about what it means to be black. With that punch and with my voice I also speak for those people who can no longer raise their hands, who no longer speak. I speak for them. So if you have any doubts about the meaning of my fist, I invite him to call me ».
Racism is more than ever a topic.
«This is why I am proud of this movement. I hope that my grandchildren or children, if I have them, will never feel afraid or ashamed to feel something different because of the color of their skin. Which by the way is beautiful, in summer everyone wants it darker. Racism exists when there is ignorance. It would be enough to ask yourself: what did a black person do to you? Why all this badness? It is because they are ignorant. And it happens all over the world. And to all the people who dwell on this, I also ask why they don’t talk about really important matters instead of committing energies on trivial things ».
She said that Italy is home to her.
“It is so. It is a country that has welcomed me with so much love and has given me happiness. If there is more wickedness, it is because it becomes worse to eat it. In my last song, Story of my life, I really wanted to tell you about this journey of happiness that Italy represents for me. I believe in positivity: we must stop hating each other, I mean that ».
Hate often runs on social media.
“They are a double-edged sword. It moved me, for example, that a movement like Black Lives Matter led to real events, even in Italy: it was very important. The opposite side is to use this power to spread hatred. “
Did you experience it firsthand?
«Lots of times. Already when I lived in the United States: my father is a urologist and, given my size, my first machine was large, beautiful. The police stopped me every time, I don’t know how many times it happened, and the first question was: where did you steal it? Or they came out of their car directly with weapons … what do you have to do then? Try to smile at us, they are things that I have lived all my life. But I can’t be silent: if I don’t have the courage to say something or to force myself, it would seem to me that I don’t leave any mark for things to change. I don’t have much power, but with my small voice I would like something to change. I will never apologize for being black. “
June 18, 2020 (change June 18, 2020 | 4:22 PM)
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