Journalists Suggest to Replace America’s National Anthem With John Lennon's “Imagine”
As anti-confederate sentiments escalated, a self-proclaimed “activist and journalist” Kevin Powell suggested replacing the country’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” after historians claim that its writer, Francis Scott Key had a racist past.
Powell, who has written and produced programs for HBO and BET claimed that Lennon’s “Imagine” should be the perfect replacement. Powell explains that the song was “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.” He even went as far as to make a jab against President Donald Trump. The journalist cites that Key was born into a family of wealthy slave owners in Maryland. Powell continues that Scott became a prominent lawyer in Washington D.C. He wrote that Scott “became very close to President Andrew Jackson, who was the Donald Trump of his time, which means that there was a lot of hate and violence and division.”
Moreover, he went on to differentiate hip-hop to the country’s national anthem. Powell wrote that growing up, people would constantly criticize hip-hop as “violent”, while all along, “The Star-Spangled Banner was in fact, “riddled” with violence. He went on to say that he would not “participate” in perpetuating a culture of violence.
The journalist continued, Key had issued an attack on Native Americans and African Americans, as well as his affiliations such as his brother-in-law, Supreme Court justice, Roger Taney who was also a proponent of slavery. Key had also prosecuted abolitionists and anyone who wanted to end slavery and describing him as someone who does not believe in freedom and equality. “And yet, we celebrate him with this national anthem, every time we sing,” Powell wrote.
Finally, he concluded that if people truly “love” their own country, then they should constantly challenge and criticize the norms, to push the nation “to be better and to be better.” He also called on to destroy “traditions that perpetuate “sexist,” “misogynistic,” and patriarchal” ideologies.
In the same Yahoo article, other historians such as Dr. Daniel E. Walker supports Powell’s claims. Walker wrote that he believed people should “rethink” the national anthem as it taps into the country’s “deep-seated” issues of slavery as well as white supremacy. He also described the songs as a “slap in the face” especially for women and people of color. He believed that instead, the country continues to make the same atrocities under what he calls “the guise of legacy.” Walker justified that Key was not just a “ person who just lived in the time period.” He believed that he was the one who had “helped” define slavery in colonial America.
In an effort to change the country’s national anthem, someone had launched a change.org petition as anti-confederate resurfaced which had challenged historical monuments and traditions. The petition also cites changing the “Star-Spangled Banner” to “America Beautiful.”
According to the petition, the song has “racist,” “elitist,” and “sexist” ideologies in its third and fourth stanzas. The move to change the anthem came after rioters tore down, desecrated and burned down several historical statues.