*Tamyra Gray is among three “American Idol” alums who have have recorded a stirring new version of the National Anthem, inspired by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the song in protest of racial injustice.
“I started reflecting on this song and did some research and discovered some of the uncomfortable truths about its origins,” says Season 4 alum Anthony Fedorov. “Because of that, I wanted to imagine an anthem that really does reflect the face of America right now. Diversity is the bedrock of our country. Why not open the conversation and ask if we can revisit the lyrics?”
The original “Star Spangled Banner” lyrics, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, has a rarely-sung third stanza that appears to celebrate the death of black slaves who were forced to fight on the side of the British during the War of 1812.
The lines in question:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
After learning of the song’s history, Fedorov said he reached out to some of his recording artist friends. “I was ready to do this on my own, but I’m grateful to Tamyra Gray and David Hernandez for doing this with me.” Gray (from season one) and Hernandez (season seven) went into the studio with Fedorov to record the revised version of the anthem, now titled “Bless Our Home.”
Fedorov says he hopes people would take it upon themselves to learn about the National Anthem’s true origin.
“I recently saw ‘Hamilton’ at the Pantages here in Los Angeles after listening to the music since the cast album was released. To actually experience this in the theater and see these historic figures be portrayed by people of color was incredible to me,’ he said. “In much the same way, I’m hoping to encourage people to really hear these words and ask themselves the hard question — is this an anthem for all of us? Or just some of us? I’m hoping to shift the conversation. At the end of the day, we all have the right to pursue our happiness and leave a legacy for our children. We are a country built by immigrants.”
Watch the Idol alums’ new version “Bless Our Home”