R&B singer Macy Gray argues in a new op-ed for MarketWatch that the American Flag has replaced the Confederate Flag as a symbol for “opposition to the abolishment of slavery” and should be replaced.
Addressing her letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Gray, best known for her multi-platinum 1999 album, “On How Life Is,” says, “Like the Confederate, [the flag] is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.”
The Grammy winner then plays off the meanings behind the flag’s individual elements, arguing that the white stripes that stand for purity should be off-white because “Pure, [America] ain’t. It is broken and in pieces.” She also says it should have 52 stars for the addition of D.C. and Puerto Rico as states, and those should be, not white, but an array of colors to represent the skin tones of the population.
Gray does feel that the United States lives up to some of the splendor represented by the flag, conceding, “The blue square represents vigilance and perseverance; and the red stripes stand for valor. America is all of those things. So, what if those elements on the flag remained?”
The songstress, who has released 10 studio albums and appeared in a number of films, has sounded off on politics in the past, but those comments were considerably less controversial than calling for Old Glory’s retirement. In April, she spoke to Billboard about her new nonprofit, My Good, which she founded to offer mental health services to relatives of those who have lost loved ones in police encounters:
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that there are thousands of families in our country who are grieving from unaccountable deaths due to police brutality. We are here to identify those families and help them with grief counseling, legal and financial assistance. I’ve spoken with a list of mothers who have lost their children in this unthinkable manner and they need help. Everyone grieves in different ways but the common thread is their question of how do they continue on — they need support and this is what we’re here to do.
The website for Gray’s organization highlights the fact that it is “NOT an anti-police organization,” [caps theirs], and takes pains to suggest that not every death of a black person at the hands of authorities is a result of brutality: “Regardless of the circumstances that end a life through contact with the police; the effect on the families is devastating — emotionally, mentally, physically and financially … We are here to do as much as we can for grieving families.”
As for why Gray decided to publicize her ideas for a new flag design now — her bio at the end of her essay reveals she and her band have just released a new album.
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