Wednesday 23rd April 2014,

K’naan to Romney: Drop my Wavin’ Flag

kshoulz February 1, 2012 No Comments

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s flag is definitely waving at half-mast.

The Republican presidential front-runner has found himself in hot water this week following a series of high-profile disputes within the media, one of which involving award-winning recording artist K’NAAN.

According to The Toronto Star, Romney is now facing legal action from the Somali-Canadian emcee after failing to ask permission to use the rapper’s hit single, “Wavin’ Flag”, at a campaign event on Tuesday night. K’naan initially took to Twitter to express his displeasure at the song’s hijacking, posting ”Yo @mittromney I am K’naan Warsame and I do not endorse this message.” He later released a statement in articulation of his position, stating “I have not been asked for permission by Mitt Romney’s campaign for the use of my song. If I had been asked, I would certainly not have granted it.”

The socially conscious emcee also revealed his own political leaning, adding “I would happily grant the Obama campaign use of my song without prejudice.”

“Wavin’ Flag” first rose to prominence after its release in 2009, going 3x platinum and topping charts globally. The song was later adapted by Young Artists For Haiti, earning a Juno Award in March 2011 for Single of the Year. K’naan’s original lyrics speak of the situation in his homeland of Somalia (and indeed, elsewhere), as he openly addresses the problems faced by the majority of people: ”We struggling, fighting to eat, And we wondering, when we’ll be free”.

Earlier this week, Romney hit a snag in his campaign plans when he mistakenly announced his lack of concern for the “very poor”, stating that with a safety net in place, his goal as president would be to instead focus his efforts on middle-class America. With about 1 in 2 Americans living in poverty or hovering at the low-income line, Romney’s definitely got some ‘splainin to do.

Aside from being an entirely ironic choice for the Republican soundtrack, the unauthorized use of “Wavin’ Flag” begs the question of intellectual property rights. Despite a blanket license obtained by the venue, the campaigners failed to obtain permission from the song’s writers. With all the recent excitement surrounding SOPA/PIPA, how could such a detail be overlooked?

We already knew our neighbours to the south were in deficit for trillions of dollars, but it’s starting to look like they may be hurting for some sense, too. •

Was Romney's use of "Wavin' Flag" way out of line?

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Host of CFRE 91.9FM's CONNECTDADOT and Toronto-based freelance writer.

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