Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Faux News and the Black National Anthem

I am hard-pressed to express my dismay about the politics in this country at this time. A dear friend sent me this story and comments, with permission to post it. Here you go. My friend wrote:

OK, I'm doing my daily stopover into the Hudson News at *****, where they have FAUXNews blaring on four TV screens (but the most unbelievably eclectic selection of periodicals you can imagine). And I catch them saying something about Denver and the "Black National Anthem," and they're talking about it like it was written by, oh, 50 Cent or something. Now here is the story, as FAUX tells it.

State of the City Shocker: Controversial National Anthem

Local jazz singer performs different version of song

Jazz singer Rene Marie stirred up controversy when she changed the national anthem during a performance prior to the Denver Mayor's State of the City address.

July 1, 2008DENVER ( - It was a shocker at the annual State of the City address.

Denver's mayor delivered the speech, but it's what happened before he spoke that received all of the attention and has everyone talking Wednesday.

The city asked local jazz singer Rene Marie to sing the Star Spangled Banner before Tuesday’s speech.

But she performed a different version of the national anthem. She took the music from the Star Spangled Banner and sang lyrics from the Black National Anthem instead.

"If anyone has a right to be angry it is probably me,” says Mayor John Hickenlooper. “I guess what I feel most is deeply disappointed."

Hickenlooper says she apologized to him. "What she said was that she was very sorry, she did not mean any disrespect, that she was trying to make a creative expression for her love of the country."

Nevertheless many people, including city councilman Charlie Brown, were really upset. "Is this a long introduction into the real song?” Brown says he wondered. “And then I kept listening and thought, what the heck is going on here? This is not the national anthem I’ve been singing for 50 years."

The mayor says no one knew what Rene Marie had planned. "She said there was only herself, her husband, and her musical mentor were the only three people in that room that knew she was going to do this hybrid of two songs together."

More information:
See lyrics to "The Black National Anthem," also known as "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johsnon

A local singer sang her own version of the national anthem at the mayor's State of the City address. Do you think it's appropriate to change the lyrics to our country's national anthem?YesNo

I turned to the guy watching next to me and said, "Good grief!! Do these nitwits know there's an entire hymnal in the Episcopal Church named after that song? What--would they have preferred the 'Horst Wessel Song'?"

I wonder: What the heck country are we living in -- when folks go so crazy about a wonderful song like this?

Let me just say I cringe every time I hear "Fox News" cited. I wish I could sue them for defaming my name.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case this news did not totally depress you, here is a video at Fran I Am's taken at a McCain rally - watch out for those dangerous librarians!
But to lift your spirits here is LEVAS.

7/09/2008 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Bruce Garner said...

Typical.....we will raise hell over issues and events that make us think about something that we know is wrong. Yet when it comes to correcting the wrongs we know exist in our own nation, we have no energy to devote to taking action to correct them. Sad that those who heard the singer spent more time criticizing than listening to the words of that wonderful hymn. They might actually have learned something. God forbid we learn!

Bruce Garner

7/09/2008 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare she! Everyone KNOWS the proper words to the National Anthem!

"O say can you see
Any redbugs on me
If you do
Pick a few
And we'll have redbug stew."

I am shocked and appalled!

7/09/2008 11:38 AM  
Blogger Nathan Empsall said...

Oh ironies of no-doubt-intentional ironies, this was the recessional hymn on Sunday, two days after the Fourth of July, at the National Cathedral. I had no clue it was also called the black national anthem - I knew there was such a thing, but didn't realize this was it. It's one of my favorite hymns. I think there's something wrong with telling people you will sing one thing with one meaning and then, without any explanation, substituting it with something else with another meaning entirely. That's disingenous and manipulative. But, the meaning itself is a beautiful one. To the Faux critics I say, jump on the singer if you absolutely must, but not this beautiful song.

Thanks for passing this along.

7/09/2008 12:15 PM  
Blogger Nathan Empsall said...

Bruce is right... Denver is dealing with gang problems and budget issues over crazy weather, but THIS is the key takeaway from the Mayor's address? Well, I guess that's ok, I'm sure Francis Scott Key would have wanted it this way.

7/09/2008 12:16 PM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

Oh my- imagine finding a link to my little bloggy in your comments, from akhf!

Anyway, I digress.

They have fouled your name, defamed it! I never made the connection because when I hear or read F.. News I feel ill.

When I read Lisa Fox, I feel inspired!

7/09/2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger Jeffri Harre said...

"Always remember, and never forget" (geez, I'm showing my age with that quote!)that the stirring words of Francis Scott Key's poem are set to the tune of a drinking song.

7/09/2008 9:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, friends. I appreciate your comments.

7/09/2008 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely they jest - Lift Every Voice lyrics just do not fit the Star Spangled tune.

The singer REPLACED the scheduled SSB with LEV, and why not? There would have been no problem if the replacement had been America the Beautiful or Our Country Tis of Thee.

7/10/2008 2:03 AM  
Blogger Caminante said...

I always hope we will get to sing it at General Convention for many reasons, being the 'Black National Anthem,' yes but also because that hymn is best sung in a huge crowd with lots of bombast -- it is fabulous. It's also the only hymn in the 1982 hymnal that has the option of a high A note!

7/10/2008 10:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Caminante, I'll confess it's one of those songs I love to hear but dread to sing ... because I don't have the vocal range. But, yes, it's one wanking great song.

7/10/2008 9:06 PM  

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