Katherine Fung, Newsweek, July 6, 2023
Anew rendition of the national anthem has drawn outrage from conservatives.
Singer-songwriter Jill Scott’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” made headlines after she performed it Sunday at New Orleans’ Essence Festival. The annual music festival, which takes place over the Fourth of July weekend, is one of the largest African-American music events in the U.S.
Scott’s rendition refers to the Black experience in America by changing the lyrics to “Oh, say, can you see, by the blood in the streets, this place doesn’t smile on you, colored child. Whose blood built this land with sweat and their hands. But we’ll die in this place and your memory erased. Oh say, does this truth hold any weight? This is not the land of the free but the home of the slaves.”
But while some commended Scott for her take on the song, others were angered by her decision to use the anthem to express a critical view of America.
“No one should use the National Anthem to express their hatred for America. Too many men and women have sacrificed their lives for our great nation to tolerate this,” Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado tweeted. “Shameful.”
The music festival also applauded Scott, calling her song “the only National Anthem we will be recognizing from this day forward.”