Photos by Hannah Joy Shareef
Data News Weekly Contributor
For the Who Dat Nation black and gold symbolized unity when thousands of fans gathered across the city to show their festive anger toward the NFL. In true New Orleans style Saints fans swarmed into massive second-line parades throughout the city while singing “we got robbed.” To release anger and frustration they turned New Orleans into a celebratory funeral from Jackson Square in the French Quarters on Sunday, Feb. 3. Instead of watching the Super Bowl local New Orleans performers hosted a concert throughout the day at the intersection of Fulton and Lafayette streets in support of Colin Kaepernick and what they felt was the Saints’ illegitimate loss.
At the Boycott Bowl concert artists shared their passion about the city backing their team in defiance of the NFL. “This means that New Orleans can come together no matter what happens,” said singer Saràyah, a New Orleans native and recording artist. “We can do anything, we will continue to shine,” she said.
Adults, children, seniors, and pets all celebrated the Who Dat Nation. The Boycott Bowl featured a Choppa-style dance contest, profane remarks about NFL referees, and a second-line that embraced the culture of New Orleans. Later, the city danced and sang the day away to release negative emotions toward the NFL.
Despite the loss of the Saints not going to the Superbowl, New Orleans native and performer, Soul Saint considered a Saints superfan, said he wanted to participate to give back to the community.
Fans also said they wanted to support quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his stance against racial injustices and police brutality. “The NFL is predominantly black, everyone should be able to make their own decisions,” said James Alexander, a local vendor.
As long as sports overlook racial injustices, fans said they believe players will continue to use their platforms to fight for equality. “I think we should continue to boycott the NFL until they make some changes,” said Keva Holiday, a performer at the Boycott Bowl concert. “I’m looking forward to it being an annual event,” she said.
Residents and travelers to New Orleans said that the NFL had lost their integrity because of their silence toward inequalities and retaliation of players who protest. Even though New Orleans’ teams are often considered underdogs in sports, residents said the heart of the city has a way of unifying people around the world.
“The Saints for New Orleans, takes away racism, discrimination, and sexism. That’s why it’s called “Who Dat Nation” we bring worlds together,” said Stacy Nixon, a New Orleans native. While supporting the New Orleans Saints, people around the world forget about their race, religion, sex or creed, Nixon said. “We are one, we don’t see color, all we see is black and gold,” she said.