"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or…"
Listening to John Lennon's music will always give his fans goosebumps. And when it comes to 'Imagine', his fans have a different emotion altogether. Well, it is needless to say that Lennon's music has inspired many rebels across the globe.
And now, amid the ongoing protests over racism in the US, activists have called for the change in the national anthem. Activists want "The Star-Spangled Banner" to now be replaced by John Lennon's "Imagine".
This comes as people believe that the anthem has links with slavery.
For the uninitiated, the national anthem is written by Francis Scott key - American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Maryland. He is said to have been involved in slavery and owned six slaves in 1820. According to an excerpt from the Washington Post, "Key was known as an evangelical Episcopalian who considered slavery inhumane and the slave trade an outright evil. But Key owned slaves. He used his legal skills to attack the anti-abolitionist movement. Key also represented slave owners who were trying to recapture their escaped slaves. Key did provide legal services to some slaves fighting for their freedom."
Well, now, several people say that the lyrics are no longer appropriate given the tensions amid the racism in the US.
Historian and scholar Daniel E. Walker and activist and journalist Kevin Powell in an article titled 'Why it might be time to finally replace 'The Star-Spangled Banner' with a new national anthem' by Yahoo! Entertainment tell us about their views on the national anthem and why it needs to go.
Expressing his views, Walker says “The 53-year-old in me says, we can't change things that have existed forever. But then there are these young people who say that America needs to live up to its real creed,” He says that is why he sides with the people who say that we should rethink about our national anthem. "Because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America," he adds.
Meanwhile, Powell said that "the Star-Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key, who was literally born into a wealthy, slave-holding family in Maryland”
He added that "the fact that Key, when he was a lawyer, also prosecuted abolitionists, both white and Black folks who wanted slavery to end, says that this is someone who really did not believe in freedom for all people." Powell says that we celebrate him with this national anthem, every time we sing it.
Upon being asked what would they suggest could be a replacement to the current national anthem, Powell said John Lennon’s “Imagine." He called it “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.”
‘Imagine’ was written by John & Yoko and was released on 11th October 1971.
In San Francisco, a group of about 400 people tore down statues of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the U.S., Spanish missionary Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key. The group of protesters arrived at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and after defacing the statues with red paint and writing "slave owner" on the platforms they were on, they toppled them using ropes and dragged them down grassy slopes amid cheers and applause.
In another incident, Liana Morales, an Afro-Latinx student at New York's Urban Assembly School for Performing Arts refused to sing the national anthem during the graduation ceremony. She told the Wall Street Journal that if she stands there and sing it amid whatever is happening, she'd be complicit to a system that has oppressed people of color.