It's about our community and our spirituality!

Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing

At the Denver, Colorado State of the City address, singer Rene Marie was supposed to open the event with the National Anthem but instead sang Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem. Ms. Marie told a local news network that she kept her plans to switch songs quiet until the very last moment. Ms. Marie said she wanted to express her love of her country by mixing the lyrics of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing with the melody of the Star-Spangled Banner. Said Ms. Marie, “When I decided to sing my version, what was going on in my head was, I want to express how I feel about living in the United States, as a black woman, as a black person.”

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing is a beautiful song. It was originally a poem written by James Weldon Johnson and was later set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. According to Wikipedia, it was first performed in public in Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal. The song became an expression of patriotism and hope for the future for black people. In 1919, the NAACP adopted the song as The Negro National Anthem. The song was entered into the Congressional Record as the official African American National Hymn.

Rob is the blogger behind Rob’s No Bull Zone on According to his profile, all we know for sure about him is that he’s United States Air Force Retired. We should also note that he is another person who doesn’t tolerate racial diversity or black people who don’t know their place. In response to Ms. Marie, Rob wrote the following (click here to see his article in its entirety).

“I want to know why I have to know what it feels like to be a black person in America? Would it be right for me to force you to know what it is like to be Puerto Rican in America? No! So why does she think she has the right to do something as stupid as this? Why does she feel she has the right to disrespect this nation and impose her own opinions and views? Does everyone have to take notice of how she feels as a black woman? I am offended that she believes that I should be force fed her view of America.

“What this woman did was stupid and racist. I hope that no one ever makes the mistake of asking this so-called singer to EVER sing our National Anthem again.

“I am truly offended. We need to stop this type of assault on the values of our great country.”

Rob closed his article with a request for people to respond and voice their own opinion of this event. If anyone needed any confirmation of the racism and separatism that continues to exist in America they need only read this article and the train of comments that followed. The hatred many white people have for black people or anything that originates in the black community is evident with the way these good white folks responded. The first four comments follow in their entirety.

“I personally think that what she did was sick and disrespectful. She should be ashamed and punished for what she did.” – peakload

“I agree 1 million percent this a BS!!!!!!!!!!!! I work at a job where it is very new to me how racist black people are to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes me mad and it actually breaks my heart. I never knew their was a black national anthem and so much hate for this country. Never in the the national anthem do we say anything about it only being for white people it is the national anthem not called the white national anthem. If you do not love this country and love all that it stands for leave. Do us all a favor and get the hell out of here. If all you want to do is bring hate and war here leave and take your trash a** somewhere else. I am sick of this pity pity me crap and being held responsible for crap that happen one hundred years ago or longer. Most of us were not even around and in control of it back then. Let it go and stop this bs and racist way of living. I hope this lady is never asked to sing for any event ever again.” – jessica

“she needs to assiimlate with americans-america is not about me-it is about we the people-herself,family and friends should be ashamed of her -total disrespect-she should have been stopped -im sure there are a lot of embarrassed and angered- friends-it just shows there are idiots of all races” – ROOOFR1

“Catch the next flight back to Africa! There is only one National Anthem of for the US….and it isn’t this disgraceful crap. If this country is so bad, so untenable…take advantage of another freedom we enjoy here and get the hell out! Go where ever it is that is so much better than here…believe me…it will be a great gesture to all of us.” – GI Joe

“What I can’t stand is people like this that think they are being anti-racist by clinging to the view that they are some how different from each other due to color of skin or culture and that they need to “stand up” against people trying to stifle it. Personally i don’t see any stifling going on except by the authorities when they’re display of protest get out of hand and then their rights are being oppressed. Constantly claiming that it is so different and so hard to be black, hispanic, white, or whatever is what keeps making it hard. It reinforces stereotypes instead of putting them aside. The Nation is not supposed to be one of cultures or race trying to gain prominence over each other. It’s supposed to be one of cultures and races working together for a common goal. Prosperity, freedom, and the ability to enhance our quality of life. Get over yourselves and quit trying to make others “feel your pain”. The only pain your showing is pain you bring on yourselves.” – Troll

If these responses are indicative of the way the majority of white people feel about the black community it is no wonder that the black community is in the despicable condition we find it today. Somebody wants the woman punished for singing a song. Somebody wants black people to assimilate. By assimilation we can only assume that this person wants black people to check our blackness at the door and become dark skinned doppelgangers of white people. Somebody else says black people need to go back to Africa. These hateful people never think that if they don’t like the fact that black people are entitled to express their right to free speech that they should go back to their caves in Europe.

Black people are always being accused of playing the race card. Black people should be happy to sing the National Anthem, a song written by white people, for white people, when black people were not even considered people but white people’s property. Do any of these people ever think to wonder how some black people may feel about these facts? Did black people ever get a chance to say whether or not we approved of the Star-Spangled Banner or did we have a choice in the matter?

For a brief moment Ms. Marie gave a small gathering of white people a sample of what it is like to be black in America. For a brief moment in time, white people were subjected to black culture being used to express unity and harmony and national pride. The song is called Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. And for those who know little about poetic license, ev’ry is a poetic way of saying every. It is inclusive of all people. White people don’t like it because it is rooted in black culture. Where is all that bullshit about all of us being American? If a black American wrote it doesn’t it still apply to all people?

It is not just Ms. Marie who plays the race card. The race card is as American as the Stars and Stripes. For these white people, and the black people who think so little of themselves and their African ancestry, black culture is not acceptable as an expression of national pride. Black culture is too, for lack of a more appropriate word, un-American. Only white culture need apply to all Americans. It is safe to assume that white culture can be the voice of all Americans. But for too many people, black culture can never be the voice for white Americans.

Saturday, July 5, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Bigotry, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Spirituality, Thoughts


  1. BrotherP,

    It is quite alright in white people’s eyes for their culture or things they do to be thrust on ALL of us for the sake of unity. But god forbid a black or other minority feels compelled to think the same thing. They don’t have the right. One of the people posting said that she stepped out of line. And that is the basic gist of things.

    As blacks we don’t have the right to step outside the lines that white people have drawn for us. Even though many will come here and talk of the “fictional” white people who drew lines for blacks etc. and that they don’t exist because they themselves are NOT doing this. But we all know that there are unwritten laws governing blacks and what we can or can’t do, how can or can’t act in regards to white people.

    We are still under the throws of a control so to speak. They want to control our anger, our reaction to them and this country. We have no right to feel isolated, foreign or even pissed off. Not only do they know they are subjugating blacks they feel we should still somehow love them and wish to respect their feelings when the comments show they could careless about black people or their feelings.

    I could go on all day with this post. But thanks for putting it in perspective. I hope that some of those bigots get a clue and read your post. But we both know that they won’t bother because you don’t have the right!


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    What irks me the most isn’t the fact that they don’t appreciate black culture being applied to them. It is the intensity of their fucking hatred that pisses me off. That, and the bottomless pit of depth to their hypocrisy. We’re all Americans as long as we do what white America says what’s American.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. Brotherpeacemaker,
    You wrote another great post!

    To be honest with you brother, I expect this type of hatred from certain white folk, so it does not bother me. Nor do I really care how they feel or what comes out of their mouths.

    The main thing to take away from this article is the black community must become self sufficient. Tax dollars that could be used to help rebuild the inner cities of this country will never come.

    If a certain politician was able to convince the congress and the senate to vote for such a measure, no president would sign it into law. Why? The majority of White folk around the country would whine, cry or stomp their feet to point it would be political suicide to push for any measure that specifically helps black folk.

    Anything that the dominant culture does not deem as respectable, is ridiculed as strange, foreign or racist. The Obama’s dap was called a “terrorist jab” from the dominant culture’s voice box, Fox news. If we really looked to white folk for our self esteem, we’ll be depressed all of our lives.

    Ultimately, we have to heal ourselves. As the reaction from white folk to Ms. Rene Marie’s singing of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing shows us, they don’t know nor care about anything that comes from a black perspective.

    Comment by truth | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback truth,

    I cannot agree with you more. The black community must learn self sufficiency. We cannot count on a dime of our taxes coming back to help us. People want to vote for Mr. Obama without any assurances from him that he wants to help black people. White people want to stomp their feet and act like spoiled children anytime something happens and they become the ones who must adapt. It is the white way or the highway.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. You make some very valid points. I think people are blowing the whole thing way out of proportion though and using it as an excuse to vent their racist frustrations. They’re using “patriotism” to mask racism. a lot of them are doing so to fuel the fire in anticipation of the DNC. Personally, I thought it was more than a little odd for Marie to just throw it out there like that as a surprise but she did and what’s done is done. Big deal. It’s a beautiful song and her voice is amazing.

    “It is the intensity of their fucking hatred that pisses me off. That, and the bottomless pit of depth to their hypocrisy.”

    Unfortunately I feel that we are only seeing the beginnings of this kind of stuff – a prelude to a new dark ages, American style if you will.

    Comment by The Broken Forum | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the feedback The Broken Forum,

    The whole affair is being blown out of proportion. White people see patriotism as some exclusive club that can only be expressed with white culture. “They’re using ‘patriotism’ to mask racism” summarizes it nicely. It is a truly beautiful song. But white people are way too racist to let black people use black culture to express patriotism.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  7. I have unfortunate news for BP. Black Sentinel and Truth,

    I am yet to read a white site about this issue (non-issue). However I hav read through the black blogosphere and they are stoning the sista.

    Comment by rhondacoca | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  8. Thanks for the feedback rhondacoca,

    It is unfortunate that so many white people are making this such a big deal. But it should be taken as more confirmation that the leash around black people’s neck is tight and does not have much in the way of slack for our own patriotic expression or anything else for that matter. Black people coming down hard on Ms. Marie for singing the black national anthem is just more expression of our collective retardation. Thanks for the heads up.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Reply

  9. On a related note, several years ago I attended a football game between historically African American colleges. They sang “America the Beautiful” instead of the national anthem; actually I liked the change.

    As far as the heat that this person is catching: remember Rosanne Barr catching heat for singing a parody of the National Anthem at a baseball game? People are ALWAYS going to get miffed about stuff like this; too bad since I think that the National Anthem is overused anyway.

    Comment by blueollie | Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Reply

  10. PS: I agree about Jesse Helms; the guy was an Imperial Wizard in a suit.

    Comment by blueollie | Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Reply

  11. Thanks for the feedback blueollie,

    I remember the heat that came down on Roseann Barr when she mocked the national anthem. It was overblown then. But I don’t remember anyone saying anything about hating all the white people when she did it. Nobody said white people were racist because Roseann sang the wrong song. Nobody told white people to catch the next bus to Europe. People are using this as little more than an excuse to express their hatred of black people.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: