Actor and singer Marc Anthony, born Marco Antonio Muñiz in New York City, was chosen to sing “God Bless America” at Major League Baseball’s All Star game. The performance brought on a number of comments on Twitter, including this typical one:
Why is a Mexican, Marc Anthony, singing god bless America? Doesn’t he know this is AMERICA’s song?
We might ask whether there is anything wrong with immigrants singing patriotic songs to celebrate the nation in which they have chosen to make their homes. “God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin, a beloved American composer born in Russia.
However, that question doesn’t apply here. Anthony is of Puerto Rican heritage, not Mexican, and was born and raised in New York City.
When asked about the controversy by an ABC reporter, Anthony called it “sad.” Given a chance to address people questioning why he was picked to sing God Bless America at the game, Anthony further explained: “I am as Puerto Rican as they come, and for those who don’t know, Puerto Rico is a US territory, no passport needed. [I am] Puerto Rican, born and raised in New York, I am as American as anybody singing it, so get over it.”
On Thursday, Anthony stopped by “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” to promote his upcoming world tour “Vivir Mi Vida.” During the interview, the singer himself brought up what he called the “trending topic” and addressed the tweets.
“You know, something happened that I really wanted to mention, and I wanted to clarify… you know, me singing the national anthem, there were some statements made that people were upset that they would have somebody from another country sing the national anthem,” Anthony told hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. “ But to set the record straight, I was born and raised in New York, you can’t get more New York than me.”
The star added that he was also “more Puerto Rican than ever” before receiving cheers and applause from the audience.