Teen's Anthem Rendition Stirs Controversy; Watch The Video...Are - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Teen's Anthem Rendition Stirs Controversy; Watch The Video...Are You Offended?

YAHOO.COM - 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 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. Hollars declined to comment and referred questions to Henderson, who said school officials told Warfield-Cross the performances should be more "traditional" to ensure the song's tune is recognizable.

"She was not told that she would no longer be allowed to perform," he said. "She was given guidelines that we hoped she would follow. She performed the next night using those guidelines and she sang beautifully."

Aurora Marin, the teen's stepmother, told The Herald-Times that the directive denies Warfield-Cross her "rights of expression and individuality." The family has written a letter to school officials seeking an apology.

"The national anthem is a historical symbol for our country for independence. The irony is that Shai is being denied her right of artistic expression as a result of her natural voice and cultural heritage," they wrote.

"The situation really makes us question the staff and leadership there, and what their representation of diversity is," Marin said.

Khalil Muhammad, an Indiana University history professor, said he listened to a version of the anthem sung by Warfield-Cross on YouTube and concluded it was "a fairly traditional rendition." He noted that many artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Jose Feliciano, have put their own stamp on the song without significant controversy. Musicians have also performed the song using traditional Jewish musical styles, he added.

Muhammad also questioned the complaint that Warfield-Cross' version was disrespectful to military members.

"African-Americans die in our wars like white Americans," Muhammad said. "Since Vietnam, African-Americans have served disproportionately in our armed services."

Warfield-Cross, who is a member of the high school's choir and has performed with the Bloomington Playwrights Project, said she felt "really confused" after the discussion.

"I felt bad, like I was doing something wrong," she said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane Police: One man shot in drug deal gone bad

    Spokane Police: One man shot in drug deal gone bad

    Monday, January 22 2018 8:57 AM EST2018-01-22 13:57:47 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say a drug deal gone bad left one man with critical injuries after being shot in northeast Spokane late Sunday night.  Police say dispatch received multiple calls of gunfire near Longfellow Road and Florida Street. At the same time, nearly two miles away, police received a call of a man who had been shot near Francis and Market. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police say a drug deal gone bad left one man with critical injuries after being shot in northeast Spokane late Sunday night.  Police say dispatch received multiple calls of gunfire near Longfellow Road and Florida Street. At the same time, nearly two miles away, police received a call of a man who had been shot near Francis and Market. 

    >>
  • Parks and Rec: Skater injured in Ice Ribbon accident in critical condition

    Parks and Rec: Skater injured in Ice Ribbon accident in critical condition

    Sunday, January 21 2018 5:54 PM EST2018-01-21 22:54:44 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After reporting that a woman injured Friday at Riverfront Park's Ice Ribbon had passed away Saturday, the department now says that the injured woman is in critical condition.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After reporting that a woman injured Friday at Riverfront Park's Ice Ribbon had passed away Saturday, the department now says that the injured woman is in critical condition.

    >>
  • Same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

    Same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

    Sunday, January 21 2018 3:25 PM EST2018-01-21 20:25:00 GMT

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Two Army captains who met at West Point have returned there to be married, in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the storied New York military academy.    The New York Times reports Captains Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino were married on Jan. 13. They're both Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

    >>

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Two Army captains who met at West Point have returned there to be married, in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the storied New York military academy.    The New York Times reports Captains Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino were married on Jan. 13. They're both Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/