Amanda Gorman, who read a poem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration and was feted as the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, decided to rewrite the words of the national anthem for July 4, calling the American flag the “scar-mangled banner.”
Gorman stated in The New York Times that she had been “terrified on a physical level” about performing at Biden’s inaugural, saying, “I did know at the inauguration I was going to become highly visible — which is a very dangerous thing to be in America, especially if you’re Black and outspoken and have no Secret Service.”
On Monday, she published her version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which read:
O say can we see, by the Gone’s early flight, What so loudly we failed at the mornlight’s past gleaming, Whose flawed stripes and strifed scars, through the perilous plight, Our wan hearts, we watched, stirred and valiantly screaming.
And the rifle’s dread glare, bullets bursting in air, Gave truth in our sight that our flag was not spared. O say does that scar-mangled banner yet save Our land of the free and the home of the brave?
(2/2) And the rifle’s dread glare, bullets bursting in air,
Gave truth in our sight that our flag was not spared.
O say does that scar-mangled banner yet save
Our land of the free and the home of the brave?
— Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman) July 5, 2022
Congrats to Weird Al for his work as Youth Poet Laureate https://t.co/jTdYCRDlbx
— Timothy H.J. Nerozzi 庭夢 (@TimothyNerozzi) July 5, 2022
The national anthem has come under fierce criticism from members of the Left for some time; in the midst of the 2020 riots, author Daniel E. Walker posited, “I do side with the people who say that we should rethink this as the national anthem, because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America, where we do things over and over and over again that are a slap in the face of people of color and women.”
Activist Kevin Powell suggested replacing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with John Lennon’s “Imagine,” as Yahoo reported at the time: “Powell, for his part, suggests John Lennon’s Imagine, which he says is ‘the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.’”
“I grew up in hip-hop,” Powell added, “and I remember how people would criticize hip-hop for being violent. Yet ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is riddled with violence. How are you criticizing a rap song for being violent, but when we get to kindergarten, we are literally teaching children violence through song? I said, ‘I can’t participate anymore.’ So I stopped a long time ago.”