Rock band Fall Out Boy turned its Friday show at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. into a statement on pop culture and politics.
The band, including vocalist Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman, drummer Andy Hurley and bassist Pete Wentz, are on their “Mania” tour in support of their upcoming new album of the same name. On the stage behind them, a large screen projected images while they played. During the song “Centuries,” footage of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and boxer Muhammad Ali were projected on the screen.
Kaepernick made headlines and caused national controversy when he knelt during the National Anthem to protest police violence against African Americans. Since then, the football player has been the target of negative tweets by Donald Trump, inspired protests in support of and against his actions, and was named “Citizen of the Year” by GQ magazine.
The visuals placed Kaepernick in direct comparison with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who made waves and sparked similar outcry when he refused to enter the draft for the Vietnam War and when he changed his name upon joining the Nation of Islam.
“Just one mistake/ Is all it will take/ We’ll go down in history/ Remember me for centuries,” sang Stump. By pairing the visuals with “Centuries,” a song about legacy, Fall Out Boy voiced their support for Kaepernick, asserting that like Ali, his legacy will be one of courage.
Fall Out Boy also paid tribute to Princess Diana, who died in a car crash 20 years ago. The band played the song “Champion” while video footage of the Princess and people’s reactions to her death played on the screen behind them. Known as ‘the “People’s Princess,” Diana championed many unpopular causes, including fighting against the AIDS epidemic. The band’s lyrics, “I’m a champion of the people who don’t believe in champions/I got nothing but dreams inside/…If I can live through this/ I can do anything,” pay tribute to the woman’s work and asks what good she could have done had she lived through the car accident.
The band also took a moment to honor the memory of rapper Lil Peep, a rising rap star who struggled with depression and died two days earlier of an opioid overdose. “We lost him so early,” said Wentz. “The world can be a pretty tough place for everybody, you know, and everybody has struggles. The important thing is when you see somebody who is struggling, reach out to them and if you feel like you’re struggling, help and sunshine can be around the corner. Don’t forget that.”
On the lighter side, during the song “I Don’t Care,” Fall Out Boy played clips of popular Youtube videos, films, and television shows like “Mr. Bean” and “Rick and Morty” featuring people flipping others off. During the chorus, a stream of middle finger emojis flooded the screen.
“Mania,” Fall Out Boy’s seventh studio album, will be released on Jan. 19.