John Legend just called “The Star-Spangled Banner” a “weak song,” in response to people’s outrage over San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the U.S. national anthem.
Legend tweeted, “For those defending the current anthem, do you really truly love that song? I don’t and I’m very good at singing it. Like, one of the best”, and then threw out his vote for “America the Beautiful” to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
I have three immediate responses for Legend:
1. Yes, I actually “really truly love that song.” I feel a rush of emotion every time I hear it. So according to your utterly bizarre logic, that means I can criticize Kaepernick all I want.
2. Changing the national anthem isn’t going to change Kaepernick’s mind, much less solve America’s racial problem. Even if I was on the #BlackLivesMatter side of the argument, this proposal would make no sense.
3. It’s OK not to like a song. There are plenty of songs I don’t care for that everyone else finds inspiring, including your “All of Me.” (No, seriously, I’m not being snippy. I think that song is overwhelmingly sappy and borderline obsessive.) But assuming that nobody else likes something because you find it “weak” is really egocentric. Get over yourself.
As for your link to The Intercept’s article about “The Star-Spangled Banner” not only being “a musical atrocity” but also “an intellectual and moral one” that “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans”… well, it shows an appalling lack of historical understanding.
First off, your assertion that “the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire” is blatantly false. The U.S. was hardly perfect, but the war began because of British greed and jealousy over the rising economic star that was its former colonies, plus its refusal to respect U.S. sovereignty on the high seas.
The British were attacking our ships and stealing our sailors, including (by accident, I’m sure) George Washington’s nephew. And the British-held Canada was the easiest way to strike back after years and years of peace attempts failed miserably.
Second of all, do you know how many freed African American sailors and volunteers helped fight during the War of 1812, especially in protecting Baltimore, which inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner?”
Why? Because they loved their country! For that matter, so did many African American slaves. They just hated slavery (which no longer exists, people. It hasn’t for a while). That’s why many runaway slaves – which The Intercept refers to – joined the British to attack Washington D.C., helped burn it down and were afterwards relocated to some lovely island… yet still proudly called themselves American!
I’m not even kidding.
So John Legend and The Intercept, try learning your history before you try to use it in a debate.