The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” last week, after a fan alerted the Yankees about the singer’s racist recordings from the 1930s. Smith’s famous rendition became a staple of the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium soon after the terrorist attacks in 2001, and Flyers hockey games occasionally substituted Smith’s “God Bless America” for the national anthem after she performed the song at the 1974 game that secured Philly’s first Stanley Cup. Both teams ended those traditions after a fan highlighted two of Smith’s recorded songs: “Pickaninny Heaven,” which describes black children fantasizing about “great big watermelons,” and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” a melodic defense of slavery that includes the lines “Someone had to pick the cotton / Someone had to plant the corn.” The Flyers also removed a statue of Smith in front of their arena that had been erected a year after her death in 1986.
Adele and husband Simon Konecki have separated, publicists for the notoriously private pop singer confirmed last week. Adele, 30, is beloved for breakup songs like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You,” and rarely discussed her marriage to Konecki, a 45-year-old entrepreneur. They met in 2011 and had a son, Angelo, the following year. Upon learning of the split, fans took to Twitter to express their excitement over Adele’s newfound lyrical fodder.
Ariana Grande says post-traumatic stress disorder has left her feeling “empty” and fearful of performing, as she struggles with the emotional consequences of a bomber killing 22 people at a Grande concert at Britain’s Manchester Arena in 2017. Replying to a well-wishing fan on Twitter, Grande, 25, confessed that performing “is hell” and that she feels as if she’s “reliving” the terrorist attack “all over again.” A couple of weeks earlier on Instagram, the singer posted side-by-side scans of her brain and a healthy one, calling the stark contrast “hilarious and terrifying.” Asked why Grande—the world’s most-followed woman on Instagram—posts less frequently these days, she replied, “i don’t have anything. love u.” ■