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
John Legend: National Anthem Is 'Weak' Anyway
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)

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. (More John Legend stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.