John Legend, Actual Legend, Calls For New National Anthem Amid Colin Kaepernick Controversy
San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm of patriotic proportions on Friday (August 26) when, during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium, the quarterback chose not to stand during the national anthem.
Meant as a political statement against systemic mistreatment of minorities—particularly people of color—in the United States, many were unreasonably angered by Kaepernick exercising his democratic right to protest (including a certain GOP nominee who, like Voldemort, must not be named). On the other side of the spectrum, however, was John Legend.
On Monday (August 29), the 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer took a stand on Twitter. Siding with Kaepernick in an effort to educate and challenge the beliefs and perspective of his followers, he tweeted a link to an article by The Intercept about the systemic racism (and reference to slavery: "No refuge could save the hireling and slave
/ From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave") embedded in the later verses of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
Legend, agreeing with the article's suggestion we use a different song for our anthem, "voted" for "America the Beautiful," calling the current anthem "a weak song."
On Tuesday (August 30), after receiving a wave of backlash on Twitter, the ever-rational singer followed up by asking his followers if they "truly" love the "Star-Spangled Banner"—and reminded them that he has sung the tune at sporting events before.
"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," he wrote.
And it's true: On June 2, the artist opened the 2016 NBA Finals in Oakland, California with a rousing performance of the national anthem.
As for Kaepernick, the quarterback remains unwavering in his freedom to express his beliefs.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media following the now-scandalized game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
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