Yahoo Publishes Column Calling for ‘Blatantly Racist’ National Anthem to Be Replaced

Yahoo has published a column from their music editor Lyndsey Parker in which she argues that the Star Spangled Banner is “blatantly racist” and needs to go.

In the column, Parker points out that Francis Scott Key, the author of the national anthem, had ties to anti-abolitionists and glorifies the criminal vandals who tore down a statue of him last week in San Francisco.

“In an increasingly anti-racist era when problematic iconography — ranging from Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben to even the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee car and country band Lady Antebellum’s name — is being reassessed, revised or retired, America’s national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ seems to be striking a wrong note,” Parker wrote.

Parker spoke to activist Kevin Powell and others who want the song replaced for the article, but did not speak to anyone with a counter view of the anthem. He told the editor that it should be replaced because Key “did not believe in freedom for all people. And yet, we celebrate him with this national anthem, every time we sing it.”

To replace the anthem, Parker suggested a song that was recently performed by Beyonce that was dubbed the “Negro national hymn” by the NAACP in 1919.

“But what about ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’? That song, written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900, set to music by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson in 1905, and first publicly performed as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday by Johnson’s brother John, was dubbed ‘the Negro national hymn’ by the NAACP in 1919. In more recent years, it has been referenced in Maya Angelou’s 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing; it was also performed in 1972 by Kim Weston as the opening number for the Wattstax festival and by Beyoncé during her celebrated 2018 Coachella set,” Parker wrote.

Her article concludes with a quote from Powell saying that “if there’s a tradition that hurts any part of the society — sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic — then it’s time to just throw it away.”


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