Ne-Yo is standing by the remarks he made at George Floyd's funeral. The artist took some heat for referring to Floyd's death as a "sacrifice," and he took to Instagram to explain his choice of words on Wednesday.
At Floyd's funeral service in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, Ne-Yo sang a tearful rendition of Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" and shared a heartfelt message about Floyd's legacy.
"Fifty states are protesting at the same time, this man changed the world,” he said. “I just want to thank George Floyd for the sacrifice so my kids can be all right. I appreciate the sacrifice, I really do."
Almost immediately, Ne-Yo faced backlash from critics online. One user commented under a video Ne-Yo posted of his performance at the event, "Murder is not a sacrifice."
"Yes it is," Ne-Yo replied to the comment. "I never said he was a 'willing' sacrifice. But the sacrifice of his life was the spark that was apparently needed to create the energy for change."
"It's kind of sad that it took this kind of sacrifice to finally open America's eyes even the little bit we have," he continued. "But the unfortunate truth is the world has not united like this in the name of justice for black people EVER."
Ne-Yo went on to write that he chose to address the criticism "because ignorance divides and we don't need that right now."
"I'm going out of my way to explain what I meant because we are all in the same fight and can't leave anyone behind," he added. "I have the utmost respect for George Floyd, his family and the UNWILLING SACRIFICE HE MADE for black people everywhere."
Floyd's funeral -- the last in a series of memorial services held for the 46-year-old -- took place at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, after which Floyd was laid to rest in Pearland, next to his mother.
The memorial featured speeches by Floyd's friends and family members, as well as a prerecorded video message from Joe Biden, and was attended by several celebrities who have been prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism held over the past two weeks.
See the video below for more on Floyd's funeral service.