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Opinion: Fergie doesn't need to apologize (even if her national anthem rendition was odd)

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Singer Fergie performs the national anthem prior to an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles Singer Fergie performs the national anthem prior to an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles AP Photo / Chris Pizzello

International sensation Fergie has apologized for her sultry, jazzy, downtempo take on the National Anthem - opening the NBA All-Star Game. If you have not heard it, you should take a two minutes and listen. Fergie took a beating on social media for her version of the Star Spangled Banner. Even stars didn’t hold back. SNL’s Leslie Jones tweeted, “Meanwhile back in the states... I leave for a couple of days and y’all lose your muthafucking mind!! Why did this happen? Not everyone supposed to do this y’all! You might as well should have ask me to sing. Wtf?!”

 

I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of Fergie’s version, either. But then I thought - hell, at least she took a chance. And that’s awesome, because you can’t make great art without taking chances. So, good for her. That being said - her rendition is still awkward. I’ve read that she was, perhaps, trying to emulate Marvin Gaye’s 1983 version of the Star Spangled Banner.  I just listened Gaye’s take on the Anthem. Gaye’s version is also odd and not for me.

 

I’m not really going to go into if the Star Spangled Banner is racist, or not. Much has been written about that and if you want to learn more, you are one Google search away (but verse three, which is seldom sung, is pretty racist).

 

The Star Spangled Banner has a specific musical tone. Stray too far away and people get angry. Stray really far away and people get really angry. But, again, art can never be great art unless it has the capacity to anger, or frighten people. So, at the very least, I get what she was trying to do.

 

Fergie has since apologized, saying, “I've always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem, and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I'm a risk-taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best."

 

Her apology is also getting roasted but honestly, I’m fine with it. It’s just a song. And it was only a basketball game.

 

Though, to be honest, I actually thought Rosie O'Donnell's 1990 HATED comedic take on the song was … well, kind of funny. Not super funny. But kind of funny. And, obviously - not for everyone. She sang it at a baseball game. Her performance lampooned how fans behave during baseball games. And after all, they hired fucking Rosie O’Donnell - to sing! You know - professional comedian, satirist and performance artist Rosie O’Donnell. Honestly, what the hell were they expecting?

 

Look, all I’m saying is, I get there is a history to the Star Spangled Banner. And a tradition. And some folks want that history and tradition to be taken very, very seriously.

 

Fair enough.

 

But … it’s only a song, after all. Fergie’s version of the song was fine. So was Marvin Gaye’s. So was Rosie’s. Maybe not for everyone. Maybe not for you. Maybe not even for me.  

 

But just fine.