Historic monuments, iconic brands and popular television shows are being reevaluated as the nation wrestles anew with the racism in its history, and the national anthem of the United States is now also a target.
Yahoo Music Editor in Chief Lyndsey Parker wrote a piece Wednesday headlined simply, “Why it might be time to finally replace ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with a new national anthem.”
Parker said we’re living in “an increasingly antiracist era when problematic iconography” such as Aunt Jemima and the car from “Dukes of Hazzard” are being “reassessed, revised or retired” and thinks the national anthem should be next. She noted that composer Francis Scott Key had a history of derogatory comments about African-Americans and was a “known slaveholder.”
The Yahoo editor then asked, “Is it time for this country to dispense with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and adopt a new anthem with a less troubling history and a more inclusive message?”
The piece then quoted various historians and activists who condemn Key and the anthem itself, noting it has a “racist legacy.”
Activist Kevin Powell predicted that “many artists will start refusing to sing it in the near future” and others could take a Colin Kaepernick-inspired knee anytime its performed.
Powell suggested that John Lennon’s “Imagine” should be considered for the new national anthem.
“I mean, the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ hasn’t changed in the 55 years I’ve been on Earth,” he went on. “And up until about 24 hours ago, I never heard anyone offended by it.