Let’s face it. The culture was present at the royal wedding and we’re here for it! The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marked a historic moment in the history of the British monarchy. For the first time, a British prince has married a person of colour. This heralds a new beacon of diversity and ushers in a fresh and praiseworthy view of the royal family. As for the wedding ceremony, the embrace of Meghan’s African American heritage and culture was unequivocal. British tradition was juxtaposed with American and black cultural elements that made for an exciting inclusive occasion.
Here are a few of those moments at the royal wedding.
The Celebs Came Through: Harry and Meghan invited a cadre of influential diverse celebrities. We first saw Serena Williams – thanks to her Instagram posts – and soon after, Oprah appeared walking to the church behind Idris Elba and his fiance Sabrina Dhowre. Markle’s co-star from “Suits” Gina Torres followed suit and so did her internet dubbed BFF, Prinyanka Chopra. They all came to support the happy couple and certainly all dressed the part.
Reverend Michael Curry Though: One of our contributors called Bishop Michael Curry’s marriage sermon the best speech since Oprah’s rousing oration at the Golden Globes. To have that kind of association, you know that Bishop Curry delivered a message that touched the core of people across the world. His message was to the royals and to every human being watching. It was a message on the power of love, and his spirited delivery made for a most memorable aspect. Commonplace with every time you give a black preacher a mic, an impassioned pontification was delivered. Read a transcript of Bishop Curry’s speech here.
The Soulful Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir: It will go down as the performance of “Stand By Me” that broke the internet. Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir performed a hair-raising soulful rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” that had the world transfixed and vibing on the same beat. Even Donatella Versace reposted the performance by the South East England choir. The choir then offered a harmonious delivery of the famed Negro spiritual “This Little Light of Mine.” This unforgettable musical moment was one of the top three highlights of the ceremony.
His Name is Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Hand-picked and called personally by Meghan Markle, 19-year-old black British cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason lifted the viewership fo millions with his beautiful renditions of “Sicilienne” by Maria Theresia von Paradis, “Apres un Reve” by Gabriel Faure and “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert. It should be noted the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, (the first black musician to win since 1978) was dressed by Sir Paul Smith himself. He looked and sounded fantastic!
Mom Showed Up (Locs And The Nose-Piercing): It’s no secret, there is no shortage of strong single mothers in the black community and Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother is one of them. Ragland was a powerful representation of the single mother and presented the world with an image of maternal pride and humble resolve. Resplendent in Oscar De La Renta and visibly emotional, she (was the only immediate member of the bride’s family) came through for her baby girl at her fairytale wedding. It would be remiss of me to not recognize that all the dreadlocked wearing and piercing-loving beings globally loved that she donned her locs, nose stud and had multiple ear piercings. Ragland served as somewhat of a champion for the rebels too.
Beyonce: No Beyonce was not present but there were too many social media posts by viewers biting their nails for her to enter from the back of the church singing her version of Etta James’ “At Last”. Eventually, it was clear that Queen Bey wasn’t going to be in attendance but just the thought of her being there gave us life.
The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a beautiful showcase of diversity and has set the stage for a new narrative of the royal family.