The New York Yankees have suspended the use of Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch while they investigate an allegation of racism against the late singer.
The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” The song originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire, but includes racist language. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black.
Yankees have cut Kate Smith’s famous “God Bless America” from their rotation. I found out why. https://t.co/4p46TYel6z
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 18, 2019
The team said in a statement:
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information. The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
Smith died in 1986.
In addition to “God Bless America,” Smith also recorded “Pickaninny Heaven”
Smith […] recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The Yankees have used her recording of “God Bless America” and sometimes live singers during the seventh inning since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They used an organ version of the song on Wednesday and Thursday.
What took so long to figure this out?
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