Rene Marie, Meet Sister Souljah

Anyone who was surprised that Barack Obama criticized Denver jazz vocalist Rene Marie for singing the tune popularly known as the Black National Anthem instead of the "Star-Spangled Banner" prior to Mayor John Hickenlooper's state-of-the-city speech doesn't have a very long memory. In doing so, he was simply having a "Sister Souljah Moment" -- a phenomenon named after the 1992 verbal whupping future president Bill Clinton put on Lisa Williamson, aka the aforementioned Sister, a hip-hop artist and provocateur, as a way of distancing himself from Jesse Jackson and others on what was perceived to be the ultra-liberal extreme of the Democratic party.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts