Friday, October 15, 2010


I appreciate NASCAR's push for diversity. It's a great sport that everyone should be able to enjoy both as fans and participants.  If Danica Patrick catches fire and has a successful career, what a boost to the sport that would be.  At some point, there will be an up and coming African-American who will be a fine competitor. These are good things and NASCAR working to advocate such vital growth is a nobel and necessary enterprise.

What is never acceptable is pandering and patronizing. Clearly, there was an annoying example of that with the singing of the National Anthem. The singer, an African-American female, peformed horribly. She could not handle the demands of the song, looked awkward performing, and hot-dogged parts of the song at the end, a practice among pop singers who sing the "Star Spangled Banner" before sports events that is most annoying and disrespectful.

Enlisting singers like this one are bound to be greated with cynicism -- as in "Why did they chose her?" or worse, "Token!"

This is no way to accomplish what the sport needs to accomplish. There are plenty of performers who are audience appropriate available. Tonight's performance stunk of pandering.


Buddy said...

Dear RMF,

I too cringed at the singing of the National Anthem prior to the start of Friday night's NASCAR's Nationwide Race. However, I see this less about "pandering" and more about those performing the National Anthem trying to add their own "flavor" to the song.

The performer Friday night so poor used phrasing and emphasis that it makes me wonder if this person had any music training. Even worse, it makes me question who was responsible for screening and picking this performer.

Our National Anthem must be sung with respect in the manner it was written without embellishment. Anything else is a disgrace to the anthem and to the United States of America.

Right Minded Fellow said...

I saw two issues -- pandering for the sake of the NASCAR "Drive for Diversity" program. This was a case of picking someone who does not represent the cause well at all.

The second issue is the extent to which "artists" take liberties with their performance of the "National Anthem" adding "flavor" as you would put it. It appears that black and country singers are currently the worst offenders.

Perhaps a side note is reflective of the change atop Charlotte's management. Humpy Wheeler, the master of promotion is gone.

I've probably pointed out before, I've heard only one performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" where the artists took substantial artistic freedom and pulled it off. In advance of Cal Ripken's streak game, Bruce Hornsby and Brandon Marsalis (keyboard and sax), changed the tempo a little making it mellower and more reflective, a very respectful performance not playing "hey look what I can do stuff."

It's been going on for decades but I think Whitney Houston's performance at the Desert Storm Superbowl, which got lots of rave reviews encouraged bolder presentations. Her's was walking the border line but had so much passon and energy (and I don't like her music) she seemed to pull it off.