Kate Smith’s family speaks out as “heartbroken” over the New York Yankees stance to separate themselves from “God Bless America.”
Several days after it was announced the New York Yankees had dumped Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America,” the family is now speaking out.
Her family is “heartbroken” after the Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers both distanced themselves from the singer for her participation in two racially-insensitive songs during the 1930s, via Tom Schad of USA Today.
“It’s somebody who found the words to two songs that she sang, out of 3,000 that she recorded, and tried to make a case out of it,” said Bob Andron, 74. “And my heart goes out to them, too. Because they’re misguided. They don’t understand what kind of a person Kate Smith was.”
The two songs in question are “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninnies’ Heaven,” both performed in the early ’30s. The former has been characterized as satire and was also performed at the time by Paul Robeson, who was black.
Smith’s niece, Suzy Andron, and her husband Bob were the two family members who spoke with Schad. Bob believes people are placing unfair focus on the two songs in question which were performed early in her career, while she was in her 20s and “trying to make her mark as a singer.”
“Aunt Kathryn really did not see color,” Suzy Andron said. “She didn’t see a person’s color. She was very in tune with a person’s character. I’ve always thought that was a model, to not see a person’s color but to see their character. And this is why I’m incredibly sad.”
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News first reported the Yankees organization stopped production on the 7th-inning “God Bless America” tradition due to the racially-charged old-time songs.
Fans remained curious, up until the first report, as to why they hadn’t heard the long-time tradition this season during the stretch.
“People can connect dots in different ways,” Bob Andron said. “These folks — whoever they were, bless them. They connected the wrong dots.”