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A singer surprised dignitaries by singing Lift Every Voice and Sing


A singer surprised dignitaries by singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the "black national anthem," to the tune of The Star-Spangled Banner during the mayor's State of the City address yesterday in Denver.

Rene Marie, who was introduced by City Council president Michael Hancock to perform the national anthem, says she made the switch without informing the mayor's office.

Marie tells The Denver Post she decided to switch the lyrics months ago and will no longer sing the national anthem because she sometimes feels like a foreigner in the USA.

"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,'" Marie tells KUSA-TV, a fellow Gannett property.

Lift Every Voice and Sing was first performed in 1900 to commemorate almost 40 years of freedom for blacks in America.

Mayor John Hickenlooper says he discussed the situation with Marie following her performance. "She was very apologetic," he tells the Post. "She meant no disrespect, and she was singing an artistic expression she thought represented love and hope for her country."

Marie tells KUSA-TV she has no regrets.

The Rocky Mountain News says the City Council president has been receiving hate mail, even though he had never met Marie before he introduced her at the State of the City event.

"I'm getting — as if I made the decision to do this — I'm receiving a lot of hate mail," he says. "I've received quite a few e-mails that are quite nasty."

Source - usatoday


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