Gwen Berry on Anthem Controversy: I Never Said I Hated America


Gwen Berry recently sat down for an interview with the Black News Channel on Tuesday

(June 29), where she addressed the controversy surrounding her turning her back on

the American flag as the national anthem played during the Olympic trials for track and

field, where she came in third for hammer throwing.

Gwen stated, “I never said that I didn’t want to go to the Olympic Games, that’s why I

competed and got third and made the team. I never said that I hated the country. I never

said that. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand for or acknowledge

something that disrespects them. I love my people. Point blank, period.”

Berry went on to explain that she takes issue with “The Star Spangled Banner,” which

alludes to catching and beating slaves. She stated, “If you know your history, you know

the full song of the national anthem, the third paragraph speaks to slaves in America,

our blood being slain…all over the floor. It’s disrespectful and it does not speak for Black

Americans. It’s obvious. There’s no question.”

The third stanza of the song Gwen is referring to is: “And where is that band who so

vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion. A home and a

Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s

pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave. From the terror of flight or the

gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave. O’er the land of

the free and the home of the brave.”


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