Joel performed Monday in New York City
He is Jewish
Billy Joel may wear his heart on his sleeve in his songs, but Monday night he wore the Star of David to make a statement.
Joel, whose parents are Jewish, wore the symbolic yellow stars on the front and back of his jacket while performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Those of the Jewish faith were required to wear a yellow Star of David as identification in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.
In 2011, the “New York State of Mind” singer gave an interview in which he discussed growing up in a predominantly Christian neighborhood when he learned he was Jewish.
A little girl across the street told him, “You’re going to grow up and have horns on your head,” and Joel said for months after he would obsessively check his head.
Joel told Rolling Stone in June that he tries to stay out of politics.
“I am a private citizen and I have a right to believe in my own political point of view, but I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think,” he said. “I’ve been to shows where people start haranguing the audience about what’s going on politically and I’m thinking, ‘You know, this isn’t why I came here.’”
But Joel appears to have had a change of heart in the aftermath of a white supremacist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month, and controversy surrounding comments made by President Donald Trump.
The singer received accolades from his former wife, model Christie Brinkley, and daughter Alexa Ray for taking a stand.
“And on the day of the Solar Eclipse a yellow star appeared on the jacket of another kind of star with a clinched fist that seemed to be gripping painful, no excruciating, memories of loved ones who wore that star to their death,” Brinkley wrote in the caption of a photo featuring Joel wearing the star on stage. “May that star also remind you today of the gold stars pinned to the jackets of soldiers for their bravery and valor for fighting an evil so hideous even the gold stars in the sky were afraid to shine.”
“Thank you, Billy for reminding people what was …so it may never ever be again.” Brinkley added.
Ray, his 31-year-old daughter with Brinkley, also posted about it on social media.
“THAT’S MY POP!!! Proud Jewish New Yorker Through & Through!!!!! REPRESENT! STAND STRONG,” she wrote, including the hashtags #HellYES #NewYorkStateOfMind #ProudJew #NewYorkStrong #FightForLoveAndInclusion #DiversityMakesAmericaGreat.”
Joel is currently on a tour.