John Legend: National Anthem Is 'Weak' Anyway
And it celebrates slavery, he tweets
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2016 10:40 AM CDT
In this March 17, 2016, file photo, John Legend performs during the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.   (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – John Legend is backing Colin Kaepernick in his national anthem protest: In fact, Legend says, the "Star-Spangled Banner" shouldn't even be our anthem. "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," Legend tweeted this week, adding, "My vote is for America the Beautiful. Star spangled banner is a weak song anyway. And then you read this..." That's when things got more serious: Legend posted a link to a tweet from the Intercept reading, "No one seems to be aware that our national anthem literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans."

In the accompanying Intercept article, Jon Schwarz makes the argument that the national anthem applauds the death of slaves. The third verse, which is not well-known since it's rarely sung, includes these lyrics: "No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, / And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave." As Schwarz explains, this is a reference to slaves who freed themselves to fight for the British, against America, during the War of 1812. Read his full explanation for why the song is an "atrocity" here.