Oh, John Legend. We think we understand what you're trying to say, but you may have just gone about it in the wrong way. Legend took to Twitter this week to weigh in on San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick's recent decision to sit out the national anthem at games in protest — and irked a ton of people in the process.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media of his decision, and Legend seems to agree, though he's not using quite the same words.
In his recent tweets, Legend takes "The Star-Spangled Banner" to task for its racist lyrics — fair enough — but goes on to shame the song for being "weak."
My vote is for America the Beautiful. Star spangled banner is a weak song anyway. And then you read this... https://t.co/iAE62FAbxj— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 30, 2016
He added in a not-so-humble brag about his ability to sing said national anthem.
For those defending the current anthem, do you really truly love that song? I don't and I'm very good at singing it. Like, one of the best— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 30, 2016
And this is where Legend went wrong. With the offhand comment about his being "like, one of the best" at singing the anthem and making his argument about the technicality of the song, he trivialized the deeper meaning of Kaepernick's protest — and his own discovery of the racist lyrics.
@johnlegend and boasting about your singing ability is a great way of proving a point? Remain humble man, u have been so good at it.— Tyler Malone (@Twhymalone) August 30, 2016
"Did you know that John Legend is good at singing the Star Spangled Banner? Like, one of the best. (Insert eye roll)," wrote a People magazine commenter.
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Legend has performed — and profited from — the national anthem numerous times in the past.
@johnlegend you don't like it but you happily sing it when asked! Then you want to boast and brag about you sing it the best!— Krista (@NaughDAJsDaisy) August 30, 2016
"If he really feels this way, he needs to stop singing it when it's requested of him and he should've turned down all past requests. I love how he will pat himself on the back for his 'talent' but never refused to sing it or make a big deal of it until now," another commenter wrote on a People magazine thread.
It is Legend's right, however, to voice his opinion about the national anthem, just like it is Kaepernick's right to choose to not salute our flag. Whether or not you like their reasons, that is, after all, what our country stands for.
Legend, for his part, understands that and is willing to engage in respectful discourse with people of differing points of view on social media.
I really enjoy talking to my followers, even (especially?) when we disagree.— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 30, 2016
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