Yahoo News is reporting that an Indiana school district that told a black teenager to perform "the Star-Spangled Banner" in a "traditional way" after receiving complaints about her performance is drawing questions now about whether the complaints and directive were racially motivated. Shai Warfield-Cross, 16, has performed the national anthem at sports events at Bloomington High School North over the last year without incident. But school officials said they received complaints about her performance during a game in Martinsville.
Principal Jeff Henderson told the Herald-Times in a statement that people had complained that while the words to the anthem were the same, the tune was unrecognizable. He declined to comment to the Associated Press. Some who complained after the game in Martinsville — a predominantly white community about 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis — also said they felt the rendition was disrespectful to current and former members of the military, Henderson said.
Warfield-Cross' family says that Athletics Director Jen Hollars told the teen last Friday that she would not be allowed to sing the anthem unless she modified her version and sang in a more traditional way. We're glad they didn't have that rule when Marvin Gaye made his famous and iconic rendition. Funny, we listened to Warfield-Cross' rendition; not only could we tell what she was saying, but she also sang it a lot like Christina Aguilera sings it. We're all for tradition, but unless someone is sounding like Roseanne Barr in 1990 or changing the words, there should be some latitude in how it is sung. How boring would it be if Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye sang it the same way every time?
Read more at Yahoo News and check out Warfield-Cross' version below:
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