Shai Warfield-Cross sings the national anthem

This sounds like a fine version of The Star-Spangled Banner to me. The singer, a 16 year old Indiana high school student, has her own stamp on it, but that her style is unique can hardly be called offensive.

Unless you’re an idiot.

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.

I have no idea how Warfield-Cross’ rendition can possibly be considered offensive. It is certainly within the realm of traditional versions when one considers all the different renditions that are out there. Besides that, so what if it isn’t traditional? Uniqueness does not make something bad. If anything, I would rather hear a version like Warfield-Cross’ before a sporting event than some of the other versions I’ve heard – and I’m talking about some extremely well done versions I’ve heard at major sporting venues such as Fenway.

As for the race issue, I’m not willing to buy it. Maybe that was the motivation, but no news story has identified the chief whiner in all this. Surely that person has some illegitimate reason for the complaint, but it isn’t clear that race is at the heart of it.

And as for the school, an apology was issued.

The formal apology by Principal Jeff Henderson was made public Thursday after a nearly two-hour meeting with student Shai Warfield-Cross, 16, her family and other supporters.

Maybe next time the school and Jeff Henderson will know to stand up to the whiners out there.

41 Responses

  1. Given that it was originally a poem without music and set to the tune of another song already in existence (in the tradition of the English language itself, which loves to steal words), who cares is a good question?

    If she wants to change the words around well than it isn’t the national anthem any more and that would be unacceptable, but she didn’t.

    Anyways, I could recognize the tune, I don’t care much for the rendition, but that’s just my personal preference.

  2. Ignore the misplaced question mark.

  3. Closed, ignorant, hateful, tiny minds can’t stand anything even slightly different. I bet they throw away their corn if the color of one kernel is a bit different too.

  4. Yes Bob, it’s because she’s black, thank you for bringing it to my attention, I didn’t notice before. I want to change my position to offended please. It MUST be race.

  5. I forgot religion! My God! I bet she’s an Atheist and that has something to do with it too! Those rascally Christians.

  6. I didn’t mention race. Your reading comprehension is getting worse, Nate. Go see a doctor. You have become so hateful, go see your priest. You just rant and rave here.

  7. Hey I connected your ‘color of the corn’ bit as a jab at race. Maybe explain to me how that makes me hateful?

  8. Did I hear you retract your hateful, smarmy statements? Nope.

  9. It was obvious she couldn’t hit the low notes and improvised….Most professional singers tell me the song is unsingable in the first place…She performed great!!!!

  10. Why would I want to retract them? I just won’t have to say those things later when you do attempt a foundation free connection to race. Just apply as needed.

  11. What filth always comes from you, Nate, and the lies and defamation and obfuscation. To be expected though. You are quite a vile liar.

  12. You’re probably on the right track Paul. It is supposedly an extremely difficult song to sing. If you take a look at the original song that the tune went to, it was a gentleman’s club song called “To Anacreon in Heaven”. Low notes would be expected and more difficult in general for women.

    At least I would expect so, not that I have an ounce of musical talent. I can press “play” like a pro though.

  13. Again with the motivational speaking, you really should consider a career in it. Think of what you could do for the suicide rate!

  14. Even your anecdotes suck the big one Nate. You score less than zero.

  15. That’s funny, I scored last night, should be at least one.

  16. Seems shaky to me. People are just stupid and like to complain, that’s all there is to it. If you’ve ever worked in a retail establishment I’m sure you can attest to that.

    Maine was a KKK stronghold too, that doesn’t mean that every criticism of a black person from a Mainer is racially motivated.

  17. That area is apparently home to an active KKK group. That doesn’t mean the person was motivated by race to complain, but it at least gives a basis to all the speculation.

  18. Certainly.

  19. I believe if a white person sang it At LePage’s inauguration, she’d be petitioned appear on American Idol! The seeds of our racism are planted very deep.

  20. The search for “evidence” regarding ones racial attitude is sometimes difficult and is exceeded only by the denial of evidence by those who are obdurately ignorant..

    This seems to sum up what I’m reading here.

  21. Had to get LePage in there? Why? His black son was there, he probably can’t sing like the rest of us.Had he really wanted to he may have been allowed.

    You want to talk about a denial of evidence and here you are searching for mountains in the land of mole hills.

  22. I’ve have summed up what I read. You have confirmed it. No need to go any further.

  23. Let me know if you find a real mountain.

  24. She’s not qualified to sing the Anthem because she can’t hit the low notes (“Twilight’s last Gleaming”), so she stylized around a note a third above It all has nothing to do with race. The white girl who sang “Oh Canada” at the Vancouver Olympics was also terrible with her stylizing.. Too much stylizing makes a mockery of a song. Bad singing is bad singing. Glad the applause drowned out the ending because she was still stretching out even when tho the song was done.

  25. She sings very well.

  26. I believe race very much was the issue. I was raised in Indianapolis, & Martinsville as a long history of being known as a very unfriendly area for blacks especially. Sadly, knowing that area, I’m not at all surprised that this happened.

  27. Someone complained that they didn’t like the way sung the song, end of story.

    The only thing that might even give the hint that it could possibly in some way be motivated by race, is a KKK group nearby. As Michael pointed out.

    If it was racially motivated, than the person failed at being a racist, it would be the sorriest excuse for a racist action ever committed.

    This isn’t even the first time I’ve heard complaints over various renditions of the National Anthem. Every other occasion that I’ve heard about, the singer was white. I suppose those were innocuous complaints though, this is just one step down from a cross burning.

    There’s plenty of racism in the world to talk about without having to invent it.

  28. Frank, from a few comments above, must be a racist for disliking it as well, shame on you Frank.

  29. Nate, what part, if any, do the colors of our skin have upon any of your deliberations? Do you concede these colors have played a part in our economic, political,and psycho/social behaviour?

    There is, of course, a mountain of evidence they have indeed played a major part in human history. If you agree, and if not all hope is lost, what has caused a sudden change in this behaviour?

    Why can’t we, based upon this mountain of evidence, speculate whether or not the complaints against the singer in question was because of her race? What. in fact, has changed the traditional enmity whites have shown against blacks???

    If your answer is we have passed laws against discrimination and have elected a black president, you are not addressing my question,

  30. Speculation is a wonderful thing. However to consistently use racism as an explanation for everything crappy that happens in the general direction of a minority, in my opinion, is racism itself.

    The past does not define the future or even the present. Certainly, race has and always will play a major role in human history. That doesn’t mean that race must always be a factor. Its demeaning towards real victims of racism to try and fit that puzzle piece in every single time.

    Let me ask you this, if she was a Jew instead of a black person, would anyone assume she was the subject of racism? What if something crappy happens to me, historically no one likes the Irish either, while that’s not racism per say it is along the same lines.

    This is the trouble with relying on history to define yourself and your culture. People and cultures are fluid, not static.

    And just to get an Obama jab in here while I have the chance, I never wanted a black president. I wanted a president that would be effective and share my policy preferences, if that was a black woman in a wheelchair with a lisp and a facial tick, that would be fine with me.

    I expect the same is true for a lot of people, they couldn’t care less. Many people want to play that race card though, and it makes a mockery of real outrages. There are racist white people that wouldn’t vote for him because he was black. Than you have racist black people who voted for him because he was black, that’s just as racist.

    My meds have me a bit dizzy, I hope that’s at least basically coherent.

  31. Well, you would be more coherent if you answered my question. You agree race has played a part in history, Do you agree with the evidence there have been traditional enmities of whites against blacks(pertinent to this discussion) ?? If so, what has changed for these enmities to disappear?

  32. Ahhh, I see what you are asking now.

    What has changed? Nothing and everything. We are not the same society today as we will be in 10 years and we are not the same as we were 10 years ago.

    What changed to allow the civil rights act? Is it possible to enumerate the subtle changes in society to account for every progression in every field?

    Society is constantly changing. Race is simply no longer a chief motivation, part of that was government intervention, but the biggest part is constant evolution.

    A better question that what has changed would be, ‘what has remained the same?’. Income levels have changed, public perceptions of race have changed, presidents have changed, senators, representatives, governors. A whole generation has died off, a whole other generation has been born.

    Do you really think that racism has remained at the same level in the whirlwind of change that comes with every passing year?

    You’ve asked a question with no reasonable answer, it’s useful in debate but that about it, after all you don’t have to prove anything while debating, just throw doubt on the other argument.

  33. My generation has not died off yet.

    I was raised in a racist city (So. Boston) during the 40’s, inherited my family’s racial attitudes, (my aunt was a nun and taught at Xavier U whose mission was to ” save the Indians and colored people”). I’ve lived thru forced busing, the civil rights revolution, Birmingham and Rosa Parks, assassination of MLK & Malcolm X, etc etc etc.

    I overcame my own racism through education and experience.

    I have spent the bulk of my career as a professional Social Worker and administrator working in Roxbury during the riots of late 60’s and early70’s. The State Police surrounded my building with helicopters flying overhead to protect both black and white employees during a race riot.. I was featured on 60 minutes with Mike Wallace who was doing an expose of welfare fraud…and while I admitted to a certain degree there was fraud, cautioned his listeners not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and eliminate urgently needed programs…

    I know first hand problems facing blacks. I know all too well the overt as well as the subtle ways blacks have been exposed to white racism. I know how they feel these subtleties.

    I daresay you lack equivalent experience,,,though I may stand wrong. We haven’t evolved suddenly through one generation . Yes, society is constantly changing as you say .Overt racism is harder to find these days because it is illegal. But I fear many whites are still dragging the subtleties behind them while kicking and screaming they are not racist

    . Shai-Warfield Cross is but one example.

  34. If it even is an example, which I doubt.

    This is my last comment as it has gone on long enough.

    Your case is just one that is too difficult to make.

    Either someone complained about the song because they hate blacks.


    They complained about the song because they didn’t like it.

    We know that the song is unorthodox, I didn’t really care for it, but it’s not offensive. We also know that the school they were playing against is located in a town, that has a group (the KKK), that in the past, made it its business to kill and otherwise intimidate:

    Republicans of all colors

    Its possible that the person complained because they didn’t like blacks. But lets be realistic and apply Occam’s razor to this, the song was unorthodox it would be easy to find people that didn’t like it enough to complain, without knowing her skin color.

    The simplest explanation is the best one. I just don’t see the racism in a person complaining about a song which, right here in the comments, has lovers and haters. None of which I think influenced by race, probably none of the commentors are offended or would complain but that’s due to sample size.

  35. I should say, that while I lack ‘equivalent experience’ you also lack my experience. My first duty station was the same place at which I attended basic training, Georgia, Fort Benning.

    The army is full of black people! And full of all other races and religions as well. If you think diversity is an important thing to experience than the army is probably the best place to experience it.

    So while I lack your experience, I daresay you lack mine. It’s interesting to note that while many of the people I served with had experienced racism, none of them acted like victims. Most of them also believed the way to stamp racism out these days is to ignore the majority of it, as half the time its a publicity stunt.

    The closer the quarters you live in, the more you tend to learn about other people.

    Now I’m really done, I promise,

  36. I’m pleased I made a difficult case for you. It’s a far more difficult problem than you realize.

  37. Or possibly a far simpler one than most want to admit.

  38. […] year-old Shai Warfield-Cross has a beautiful voice, and because of her talent, she has been singing the National Anthem before […]

  39. […] challenge you to watch these two videos. If you don’t walk away feeling that Shai’s rendition of our national anthem far exceeds Christina’s, I will be seriously surprised. See for […]

  40. I’m glad when anyone does anything new with that song — it needs it.

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