John Legend Proposes Changing National Anthem

By Amanda Wicks

John Legend is siding with Colin Kaepernick over the San Francisco 49er’s decision not to stand for the national anthem during the opening moments of Friday’s (August 26) game against the Green Bay Packers.

Related: John Legend, Andra Day Performance Honors Muhammad Ali

The football player later said his motivations were political. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media. “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.”

Kaepernick has received immense backlash over his move, but Legend is defending him, arguing that it’s time to update the national anthem to something more patriotic and less mired in the country’s racist history.

Yesterday (August 29), Legend tweeted a link to an article examining the original version of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” One of the verses eventually cut from that song included the line, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Legend proposed that the United States replace its current anthem with “America the Beautiful.”

Some Twitter users were quick to criticize his call, but he responded by reminding them he’d sung the national anthem many times, and asked them to really think about what they were defending.

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