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Philadelphia Flyers remove statue of Kate Smith over racist songs

Philadelphia Flyers remove statue of Kate Smith over racist songs

National Hockey League team the Philadelphia Flyers have officially removed a statue of singer Kate Smith outside their stadium, after the team's management said they learnt that some of her songs contained "racist lyrics and sentiments".

The Philadelphia Flyers have removed a statue of Kate Smith from outside the team's arena following allegations of racism against the late singer, team officials said.

"While Kate Smith's performance of "God Bless America" can not be erased from its place in Flyers history", the Flyers added, "that rendition will no longer be featured in our game presentations".

"We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization", the Flyers said in a statement to CNN.

"I'm appalled", Suzy Andron, Smith's niece, told CBS Philadelphia.

The Yankees suspended use of Smith's recording during the seventh-inning stretch amid conflicting claims about several of her songs, including a 1939 number entitled, 'That's Why the Darkies Were Born'. The song was also covered by African-American singer and activist Paul Robeson. 'As a result, we can not stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today'. "Because they're misguided. They don't understand what kind of a person Kate Smith was".

- The mayor of Wildwood told a local radio show that Kate Smith's "God Bless America" will continue to play on the boardwalk amid racism allegations.

"At the height of her career, during World War II, she repeatedly was named one of the three or four most popular women in America", Smith's 1986 New York Times obituary reads. "And to ensure the sentiments stirred this week are no longer echoed, earlier today we completed the removal of the Kate Smith statue from its former location outside the arena".




Smith is best known for introducing the country to the song 'God Bless America'.

Smith's 1931 song "That's Why Darkies Were Born" was at the heart of the current controversy. Her performances of the song helped sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of war bonds.

She sang "Pickaninny Heaven", dedicating it in a 1933 video to "colored children" in a New York City orphanage.

But Troiano believes the song in question was not meant to offend anyone, explaining it was originally created in 1931 for "George White's Scandals" Broadway revue, which is a popular theatrical form of entertainment comprising of multiple acts, music, dance, and sketches.

The decision to ditch Smith for racist songs that were recorded almost 90 years ago was widely panned, with Smith's family saying that they were "appalled" by the decision.

"Someone had to pick the cotton, someone had to plant the corn, someone had to slave and be able to sing, that's why darkies were born", go the lyrics.

Smith's family says the Flyers should rethink their decision.

All of that changed last week after Smith's role in a questionable song performed 90 years ago was randomly uncovered.

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