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Haters come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes the biggest haters of all can be your fans. In a way they have the authority to make or break your career. Just ask Alicia Keys, who is now receiving backlash for her take on The Star-Spangled Banner, at the Superbowl.
Most of her celebrity friends and fans thought she did an excellent job. Spike Lee said, “ yes lord” after hearing Keys throw down. The View’s, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, exclaimed, “One of the great renditions,” on her twitter account. But it was her fans that tore into her for doing a slow jazzy version of The National Anthem.
One reader commented that it was “One of the worst anthem renditions I have ever seen or heard. What a funeral durge. Too slow.” Another wrote, .”It’s not yours. It’s ours collectively. Sing it the way it’s supposed to be sung.” But later the same person wrote, “I never meant to imply she wasn’t a great musician or that she butchered the song in any way. I just feel the National Anthem is one song that should be performed the way it was written and artists shouldn’t try and use it as an opportunity to top the iTunes charts the next morning.”
Do we, as artists have the right to make The National Anthem our own, or any song for that matter? Keys is not alone in receiving backlash from fans. Beyoncé, Steve Tyler, Christina Aguilera also got hit by haters. But Keys is not the first one to do the song her way, with a jazzy or R&B feel to it. Does anyone remember Marvin Gaye’s take on it or Whitney Houston? The song itself is noted as being one of the most difficult songs to sing, not to mention long. At games people usually just go through the motions of standing up and cheering when we finally get to the end of it, so the game can start. Maybe this is why fans are speaking out. Maybe her rendition was too slow. Who knows. One thing we can say is that three African American women held it down at the SuperBowl this year, making history.
Asa Lovechild is an accomplished actress and singer out of New York City.