NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” has long been played during the seventh-inning stretch of New York Yankees games but no more, because of hints of racism in the late singer’s past.
The song has been used for 18 years but, according to a report in the New York Daily News, a charge has been made that Smith had sung songs with racist lyrics, which caused the Yankees to change its playlist.
Smith died in 1986. Her version of the song is considered a good-luck charm for hockey’s Philadelphia Flyers because her singing of the song before cames appeared to coincide with wins. However, in 1931, the singer had recorded a Top 20 song called “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” and once appeared in a video for a single called “Pickaninny Heaven” with its obvious connotations.
The singer also, in 1939, endorsed a doll called the Mammy Doll, according to the Daily News.
The Yankees have made the song a traditional play during the seventh-inning stretch after the 2001 attack on the city.