On social media, controversy has erupted over a Fourth of July performance by Vanessa Williams of “Lift Every Voice And Sing”, also known as the Black National Anthem. While some users called it “divisive”, others said that the backlash was ridiculous and supported the performance.
Williams performed the song Sunday on PBS’ A Capitol Fourth, which was also hosted on Sunday by the actress/singer.
Williams said to the Associated Press July 2, “It’s to celebrate the amazing opportunity that we now get Juneteenth. While promoting the show, we reflect the times.
According to the AP, the broadcast, which celebrated 41 years of airing, was broadcast to millions on PBS and across streaming platforms. It also reached troops all over the globe.
Just after the announcement on Saturday, there was a backlash against it.
Lavern Spicer is a Republican candidate in Florida’s 24th Congressional District. He tweeted Saturday: “Vanessa Honey, a BLACK National Anthem is something a Black African Country wouldn’t have, not a Country like America that exists only for the few.”
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Carmine Sabia (a conservative writer/editor) also tweeted Saturday: “This absurdity.” There is no black America. As there is no black nation, there is no “Black National Anthem”. One nation is under God. We will be divided by everything this woke culture does. “I will not watch you create racism.”
Sabia tweeted on July 4: “My issue, sing it Juneteenth. Singing two National Anthems is another way to divide us. Two Americas, two National Anthems, that is more separation, and that doesn’t bring unity. It cannot, by definition.
Sabia’s Sunday tweet was in response to Dr. Darrell Scott’s, who tweeted: “First there were problems with ‘Juneteenth. Sabia’s tweet Sunday was in response to Dr. Darrell Scott’s tweet: “First there was a problem with ‘Juneteenth.’ Now there is a problem when Vanessa Williams sings ‘Lift Every Voice’ on Independence Day, because it’s been nicknamed the Black National Anthem. It seems like the only side that has a problem with Black’ stuff is the ‘Right.
Tim Young, comedian, host, and author of this article tweeted his reaction to Saturday’s announcement that the performance would be performed.
Young tweeted, “This isn’t unity…it’s division,” and also posted a video responding to the announcement.
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Young stated in the video, “What’s Asia’s national anthem?” What is the Native American national song? What is the Latino national song? Do the whole thing if you are going to do the bull****. Be all-in, be committed. This is not unity.
Greg Kelly, a television host, tweeted Saturday: “THIS ISN’T BAD. Different Races will have different holidays. They will have their own Anthems. The new SEGREGATION. Vanessa Williams will sing the ‘Black national song’ at Capitol Fourth celebration.
@TonyPaul45 wrote that there is only one National Anthem which covers all people. It doesn’t matter who you are. Since its original posting, the tweet has been liked over 200 times.
Sophia A. Nelson, author and journalist, tweeted that she supported the performance. She’s singing the black national anthem. This is what I [heart Emoji]! #ACapitolFourth#July4th#HappyIndependenceDay
Karen Dalton Beninato tweeted the following: “Vanessa Williams dedicates The Black National Anthem for her ancestors, as well as our new national holiday, Juneteenth. [heart emoticon]#July4thPBS “ACapitolFourth”
Television critic Hal Boedeker tweeted Saturday, “So sad that some people would struggle with a hymn written by two Florida men that resonates throughout the generations. It will be performed tonight by a great singer on PBS. #VanessaWilliams
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Father Edward Beck tweeted, “This is so absurd. It is sad that this type of absurdity continues to be tolerated. Both anthems are beautiful and I will be tuning in. @VWOofficial, congratulations! We are grateful for your kindness and helping us lift all voices.
Daily Reuters reached out to Williams, PBS and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) for comments.
Vanessa Williams and 1984 Miss America Scandal
Williams was the first Black woman to win Miss America. She won the title in 1984 for the 1984 edition.
In July 1984, she had to resign as Miss America. Penthouse magazine announced that it would publish nude photos of Williams. The images were taken two years prior while Williams was working as an assistant photographer. Time reported the news in 2015, on the anniversary of her resignation.
Times reported that the photos appeared in Penthouse’s September 1984 issue. Five million copies were sold at newsstands. Bob Guccione, the Penthouse editor and publisher, stated at the time that it was a business decision to publish the photos and not a moral one.
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Vanessa Williams’ marital history
Williams is still married. According to IMDb the singer/actress is currently married Jim Skrip. She married him in 2015.
She was previously married to Ramon Hervey, a music executive, from 1987 to 1997. Hervey has three children, Jillian, Melanie, and Devin Harvey.
From 1999 to 2005, Williams married Rick Fox, an ex-NBA player. According to IMDb, they have a daughter, Sasha Fox (actress and director).