Macy Gray, the Grammy-winning R&B singer, wrote that the American flag needs a redesign “that all of us can honour” in an op-ed published by MarketWatch to observe Juneteenth, a federal holiday recognising the end of slavery in the United States.
She opened the piece by observing that the Confederate flag, which was created as “a symbol of opposition to the abolishment of slavery,” has recently proven “tired.”
“We don’t see it much anymore,” she wrote. “However, on the 6th [of January], when the stormers rained on the nation’s most precious hut, waving Old Glory — the memo was received: the American flag is its replacement.”
The Grammy winner went on to address US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress directly. “The American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief. God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect,” she wrote. “It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honour it. It’s time for a new flag.”
The musician also dove deep into the visual representation and the symbology of the flag. Regarding the stars, she wrote, “there are 50, where there should be 52” as “DC and Puerto Rico have been lobbying for statehood for decades.”
She suggests that proper representation for the two would mean better representation for Black people and Latinx Americans.
Gray also went on to give a detailed description of the flag, as she believes it should be. “What if the stripes were OFF-white? What if there were 52 stars to include D.C. and Puerto Rico? What if the stars were the colours of ALL of us — your skin tone and mine — like the melanin scale?” she said. “The blue square represents vigilance and perseverance; and the red stripes stand for valour. America is all of those things. So, what if those elements on the flag remained?”
She wrapped things up by reminding readers that the current version of the flag was designed as recently as 1959. “Sixty-two years later, in 2021, we have changed and it’s time for a reset, a transformation. One that represents all states and all of us.”