After conspicuously not standing up during the National Anthem played at a preseaon NFL game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained that his actions were a tribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Moreover, he went on, the song itself has a racist history. If you unfamiliar, here is Jason Johnson of the Root to explain: Lt. Francis Scott Key and the history of the US National Anthem's racist 3rd Verse.
It's a damn tough song to sing, that one we often hear on July 4th, but that didn't stop 'em from designating Francis Scott Key's clunky and tortuous little tune as the US national anthem. People have struggled with it ever since. There was one guy, though, who, back in 1969, performed a soaring, acid-drenched, whammy-barred and noise-punctuated version of it that still stands as one of the most daringly adventurous and poignant moments in American musical history: Mr Jimi Hendrix and his amazing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.