Flavor Flav shared that his performance of the national anthem was inspired by members of his family who are military veterans.
Flavor FlavSteve Granitz/WireImage
“It may seem odd for Flavor Flav, a member of Public Enemy, to do the National Anthem. But I had family that fought in World War 2,” Flav said in a statement to Just Jared on Monday, October 30. “My dad was in the army. They fought for the land that we live on, and some of them didn’t make it back.”
He continued: “So when I was singing it, I was thinking about them and the advancements we have made in our community that I can perform the national anthem. I was happy I did it!”
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Flavor Flav put his own spin on the national anthem at a recent Milwaukee Bucks game — and instantly went viral.
“YEAH BOY,” the Bucks account wrote via X on Sunday, October 29, alongside a clip of the rapper’s performance. “S/O @FlavorFlav for the flavorful anthem!”
Flav, 64, sang his heart out before the Bucks took on the Atlanta Hawks, performing for nearly three minutes. While on the court, he rocked a green Bucks jersey with the No. 59 on the back to signify the year he was born. The Grammy nominee, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., also sported his signature chain with a clock pendant, a sideways white hat and glasses.
Viewers and social media users were left feeling conflicted about his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While many had harsh critiques for the hip-hop legend, who was one of the founding members of the ‘80s group Public Enemy, others appreciated the effort he made.
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“You can tell he truly rehearsed this and sang to the best of his ability. Love it. So happy for him, go Flav! 💚,” one user commented via X. “It’s giving FERGIE,” another penned.
Despite the mixed reviews, Flav brushed off the criticism and shared that he felt proud after fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams. (The Bucks ultimately lost to the Hawks 127-110.)
Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images
“The anthem was a long time bucket list item … that was fun! I can’t live my life worried about what people might say about me,” he wrote via X on Sunday. “I won’t let that stop me from trying new things and doing things I wanna do. Some people might not like that. But a sure failure is if you stop trying.”
Flav isn’t the only performer who has gone viral for their memorable renditions of the anthem. In 2018, Fergie made headlines for her unusual take on the song during the NBA All-Star game. Players and celebrities in the audience laughed as she sang, but Fergie, now 48, defended her approach.
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“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk-taker artistically, but clearly, this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best,” she said following the game.
Along with Flav, Public Enemy featured Chuck D. and DJ Lord, Sammy Sam, Professor Griff and Terminator X over the years. Before his Bucks game appearance, Flav went viral for declaring himself a Swiftie in June after seeing Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in Detroit. “In my RED (Taylor’s Version) Era,” he captioned a photo at the time.