Politics

K’Naan Mad Over Mitt Romney’s Use of His Song

Fri., Feb. 3, 2012 8:06 AM EST
by Nicholas Robinson

Mitt Romney, the current front-runner of the Republican presidential primary, has angered a number of politicians and citizens over the past few months with his comments on corporate taxes, immigration and America’s poor. But now the politician has drawn the ire of rapper K’Naan, who threatened legal action against Romney over the use of his politically charged song, “Wavin’ Flag.”

The trouble began on Jan. 31, during the Florida primary when Romney’s team played “Wavin’ Flag” in celebration of Romney’s win, a song which has been used on other occasions throughout Romney’s campaign. Huffington Post reporter Jon Ward tweeted about the song selection and once K’Naan saw the tweet, he decided to confront Romney via Twitter.

“Yo @mittromney I am K’naan Warsame and I do not endorse this message,” tweeted K’Naan.

According to MTV News, the emcee later released a statement threatening legal action against Romney if he continued to use the song, but explained that he would gladly allow President Obama to use the song.

“I have not been asked for permission by Mitt Romney’s campaign for the use of my song,” said K’Naan. “If I had been asked, I would certainly not have granted it. I would happily grant the Obama campaign use of my song without prejudice.”

A rep for Romney said that he would no longer use the song out of “respect” for K’Naan.

K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag,” which became an international hit in 2010, certainly doesn’t seem to reflect Romney’s political stance. For the song, K’Naan paints a potent lyrical picture of his early life in his hometown of Mogadishu, Somalia, which had been devastated by civil war. K’Naan raps about the people of his war-torn hometown rising above the hardships, violence and poverty to stand in freedom, a far cry from Romney’s recent comments about America’s poor. “I’m not very concerned with the very poor,” Romney recently remarked to CNN on Feb. 1, after his primary win.

K’Naan further spoke with MTV News on Feb. 2 via Skype, explaining why his music has no connection to Romney’s political platform and beliefs.

“Mitt Romney makes the sort of statements that are the antithesis of the very music that I make,” explained K’Naan. “My music is concerned with the very poor.”

“It bothers me when music is appropriated in the wrong way. It’s not in the same spirit that I create the feeling and the statements that I get from his campaign,” said K’Naan, whose music was also used as Coca-Cola’s theme song for the 2010 World Cup.

However, K’Naan reiterated that President Obama has free reign to use his music.

“President Obama has ideas and convictions that I can get behind,” he said, before smiling and leaving one last message for Romney. “Romney, we might disagree with policy, but you have a good choice in music.”

Well, this isn’t the first time that music and politics have clashed. Check out a list of other conflicts between music and politics below. –nicholas robinson

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,