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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh Lawdy....Sista Done Messed Up-Singer Replaces National Anthem with the Black Version & What Does This Have To Do With Obama? Nothing!

First off, I love Lift Every Voice and Sing, it is truly a testament of pride for many people of color and in many respects a demonstration of Black patriotism. But is it appropriate if you were "hired" to perform the Star Spangled Banner? Well we are about to find out, as the latest bit of 24 hour feigned controversy stems from a singer's personal choice to interject the Black National anthem in place of the mainstream version during yesterday's State of the City address in Denver. Again, I can understand one's need to propagate personal cultural pride, but this was meant to politicize and perhaps racialize an otherwise mundane civil service affair. And due to tribalism, one can place a winning bet that this is going to be construed as a nod to Senator Obama's candidacy, ironically at a time he is currently attempting to define his patriotism (rightfully or wrongly) for public analysis. Here's USA Today's take on this matter:

Controversy after singer substitutes 'black national anthem' for 'Star-Spangled

A singer surprised dignitaries by singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the "black national anthem," to the tune of The Star-Spangled Banner during the mayor's State of the City address yesterday in Denver.

Rene Marie, who was introduced by City Council president Michael Hancock to perform the national anthem, says she made the switch without informing the mayor's office.

Marie tells The Denver Post she decided to switch the lyrics months ago and will no longer sing the national anthem because she sometimes feels like a foreigner in the USA.

"When I decided to sing my version, what was going on in my head was: 'I want to express how I feel about living in the United States, as a black woman, as a black person,'" Marie tells KUSA-TV, a fellow Gannett property.

Lift Every Voice and Sing was first performed in 1900 to commemorate almost 40 years of freedom for blacks in America.

Mayor John Hickenlooper says he discussed the situation with Marie following her performance. "She was very apologetic," he tells the Post. "She meant no disrespect, and she was singing an artistic expression she thought represented love and hope for her country."

Marie tells KUSA-TV she has no regrets.

The Rocky Mountain News says the City Council president has been receiving hate mail, even though he had never met Marie before he introduced her at the State of the City event.

"I'm getting — as if I made the decision to do this — I'm receiving a lot of hate mail," he says. "I've received quite a few e-mails that are quite nasty."

And in conclusion, if sistergirlfriend wanted to do a Black version of the national anthem, take cues from the master:

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