Friday, July 4, 2008

Black News: Obama Says Singer was Wrong to Change the Anthem



Obama: 'We only have one National Anthem' : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News

Sen. Barack Obama said today that a jazz performer's decision to sing the "Black National Anthem" at Denver's State of the City speech this week was wrong.


"Well, 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing' is a beautiful song that has been sung in African-American churches and other events for a very long time," the presumed Democratic presidential nominee told the Rocky in a telephone interview on his way to North Dakota. "We only have one National Anthem. And so, if she was asked to sing the National Anthem, she should have sung that."


Obama's remarks came as the controversy entered its third day.


Rene Marie, the jazz singer who belted out a surprise performance of the black anthem, triggering a public outcry, said today that it wasn't a "self-centered and calculated publicity stunt."


But in a lengthy statement posted on her Web site, Rene Marie informs people about how they can buy her CDs.


"Once we receive the money order, your purchase will be shipped within 24 hours," Marie said in the statement.


The first half of the statement, however, deals with the anthem uproar.


"I didn't expect that singing the song would garner this kind of attention," Marie said.


"After all, I had sung the exact same song at the Colorado Prayer Luncheon earlier this year before a much larger and wider audience and there wasn't even a ripple," she said.


Marie said she understood how her actions could be perceived as dishonest since the mayor had invited her to sing the national anthem instead.


"But I looked at it a different way: I am an artist," she said. "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."


She also denied that she was trying to make a political statement even though she told 9News that she was trying to express how she left about living in the United States "as a black person."


"I am apolitical, choosing to address social issues through my art, not politics," she said.


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