"Take the poll."

Was it appropriate to sing the Black National Anthem at the State of the City address in Denver?
Response Percent Votes
Yes 16% 1374
No 81% 6680
Unsure 1% 140
Total 8194

Jazz singer Rene Marie was invited to sing the National Anthem at Mayor John Hickenlooper's State of the City address today. Instead, Marie sang what is known as the Black National Anthem, sparking outrage among some of the estimated 700 people who attended the ceremony.
Related LinksVIDEO: Watch the singing of the anthem (14 minutes into video)
Denver's City Council president is getting hammered with hate-filled messages in response to Tuesday's surprise performance of the "Black National Anthem" by a jazz singer during a city event.

Chanteuse René Marie had been invited by Mayor John Hickenlooper's office to sing the national anthem during his annual State of the City address.

Council President Michael Hancock, the master of ceremonies, introduced Marie, who sang what is known as the "Black National Anthem" instead.

Her performance evoked angry reactions among some of the estimated 700 people at the event.

"There is no substitute for the national anthem. Period," Councilman Charlie Brown said.

"This is the State of the City address. It's not an NAACP convention," he said, referring to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Hickenlooper and his staff said they expected Marie to sing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" and that they were surprised when she sang something different.

In a statement late Tuesday, Hickenlooper said: "I'm disappointed that this matter has been a distraction from the great work and significant accomplishments of our city employees over the past year and the many important initiatives on tap for the coming year."

Hickenlooper said in an interview that he spoke to Marie after the ceremony and that she apologized profusely.