Artist Who Sang "Black National Anthem" Says Others Needed to Hear It
Jazz singer, Rene Marie, shocked the folks in Denver by singing the “Black National Anthem” instead of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Denver’s State Of The City Address this past month:
(4 minutes 30 seconds)
Slapstick Politics reported on how well this went over with the locals.
Recently, the artist Rene Marie explained her actions on her website:
WHY DID YOU AGREE TO SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND THEN NOT SING IT? WASN’T THIS DISHONEST?
I can see how it may be perceived that way. But I looked at it a different way: I am an artist. As such, if I wait until I am asked to express myself artistically, or if I must ask permission to do it, it would never get done. I wanted to tell them what I was going to do, but I couldn’t because I knew the answer would be ‘no’. I knew that, even if I asked to do my version of the national anthem, the answer would be ‘no’. There are times, artistically speaking, when an event chooses us, a door is opened to heal ourselves and others through our artistic expression, so to speak. When that happens we can trust our instincts and walk through it or we can shrink back in fear. It is my firm belief that artists have the responsibility and privilege to walk through that door every single time it opens to them.
WHY DIDN’T YOU SIMPLY TURN DOWN THE REQUEST TO SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?
I viewed the invitation to be a door opened to me to sing this version of the Star Spangled Banner; that others needed to hear it as much as I needed to sing it. Also, I had sung the song successfully right in the city of Denver only two months earlier and received much positive response. The organizers of that event did not know I was going to sing that song, either.