Mayor John Hickenlooper’s annual State of the City address may get more attention for what wasn’t included than what was.
At the start of the event Tuesday morning, City Council President Michael Hancock introduced singer Rene Marie to perform the national anthem.
Instead, she performed the song “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is also known as the “black national anthem.”
When she finished, the audience responded with mild applause. The national anthem was never performed.
Governor Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) discussed the incident on The Mike Rosen Show on 850 KOA on Wednesday morning, calling it “inappropriate.”
“I don’t think it’s fair artistic expression,” said Ritter.
Ritter went on to say he felt Marie’s actions were “wrong” and “outside the bounds.”
“It certainly is operating as a distraction,” said Ritter.
On top of inappropriate, outside the bounds, and wrong, it’s just plain unprofessional. She shouldn’t get a singing gig anywhere else, if she’s not going to perform the song she was there to do. Marie was there to sing the Star Spangled Banner, not the Black National Anthem. Where’s the Hispanic National Anthem? There’re more Latinos in the U.S., especially Denver, than blacks. Is that next?
The interesting thing is that [Denver City Council President] Hancock seemed a bit surprised by the amount and tone of the hate e-mail he received as a result of the artistic decision made by Marie. In all fairness, there is a protocol and Marie broke that protocol.
However, what’s with the hate mail? It’s interesting, just when there are some who are quick to brag that America has overcome its challenges with racism, we are quickly reminded that we haven’t – at least not completely.
But what makes it even more objectionable (as if it could be more objectionable) is that this separatist “anthem” is sung at the opening of Nation of Islam events. In fact, as I noted last year, this song was also sung at a Louis Farrakhan speech at a Nation of Islam gathering in Detroit by none other than Grammy award winner Anita Baker.
It’s the equivalent of singing a Nazi anthem from Germany to open an American government event. No difference. But why sing, “Deutschland Uber Alles,” when you can sing “Schwarzen Uber Alles“?
Some seem to think that this will become the order of the day: separate national anthems within the U.S.