Macy Gray thinks it's time to change the flag of the United States of America.
The 53-year-old Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter made her comments in an essay posted on the stock market news site Marketwatch on Thursday, June 17, two days before Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and which has also historically been called Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day. The same day Gray published her essay, U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris signed a bill into law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
"President Biden, Madame Harris and members of Congress: the American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief," wrote the "I Try" singer. "God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It's not fair to be forced to honor it. It's time for a new flag."
In her essay, Gray included a depiction of her ideal U.S. flag. It has 52 stars rather than 50—which currently represent the states of the Union—and some of them are various shades of brown rather than just white.
"D.C. and Puerto Rico have been lobbying for statehood for decades. Both have been denied, since statehood would allow each territory's elected officials seats in the house," Gray wrote. "Assuming D.C. reps would be African-American and Puerto Rican reps would be Hispanic, the ultimate assumption is that these elected officials would be Democratic," Gray wrote. "That alone is racist."
Gray's version of Old Glory also has off-white stripes instead of white ones. According to the Smithsonian, the white on the American flag symbolizes purity and innocence.
"America is great. It is beautiful. Pure, it ain't. It is broken and in pieces," Gray wrote in her essay, which was posted seven months after a divisive U.S. election and five months after a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. "What if the stripes were OFF-white? What if there were 52 stars to include D.C. and Puerto Rico? What if the stars were the colors of ALL of us — your skin tone and mine — like the melanin scale?"
Gray continued to write that "in 2021, we have changed and it's time for a reset, a transformation. One that represents all states and all of us."