R. Kelly performs in 2009. (Getty Images file photo )
There currently is a petition on the White House's official website asking the government to change the national anthem to R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)."
Yes, you read that right. Ain't democracy grand?
If you're not familiar with it, whitehouse.gov includes a section called We the People, a place to organize and sign petitions about issues that are important to you. If enough people support the petition, the White House will release a statement commenting on it.
As of Thursday afternoon, the R. Kelly petition had only 7,500 signatures. Sadly, I don't think it stands a chance ... on the federal level. But let's think more local!
Folks, I'd like to officially use my office as Wingman of this beautiful city to campaign for making R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" the official song of Chicago.
Some of you probably just stood up in your train car and yelled "YES! ERNEST, YOU GORGEOUS PATRIOT, YOU!" But I'm guessing there are those who will need to be persuaded. Fine. Here's why Mayor Emanuel needs to make this happen.
R. Kelly is from Chicago
This is a no-brainer. As a city, we have a history of failing to appreciate our homegrown stars until they've moved away. Kells is the rare exception of a global superstar from the Windy City who you still can count on seeing no less than twice a year.
He's the comeback kid
We won't get into why Kells is still looked at as controversial. We all know. "That incident" happened 11 years ago. Eleven. Since then? Seven solo albums and a collabo record with Jay-Z, his second. He's back from the brink. A real Chicago story if I've ever heard one.
The song is a classic
There are maybe 75 songs ever recorded that everyone likes. This is one of them. You ever go to a friend's wedding and they have that really racist grand-uncle? Even HE likes this song.
It would boost our image
Imagine it: Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The nation is watching. Jim Cornelison takes the ice, decked out in a lavish tux. The crowd is hushed. He begins. "Now usually I don't do this, but uh ... g'on head on and break 'em off with a lil' preview of the remix." Are you telling me you wouldn't explode with excitement?
It's freakin' fun
Kells breaks it down. "We got food everywhere, as if the party was catered"? Chicago—food everywhere. "Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce"? Take a bus during construction season. "Jukin' all night"? My friends and I do that already! Perfect fit.
Chicago deserves a song that accompanies the noble spirit of this being the freakin' weekend and us wanting to have some fun. Call your alderman! Head down to City Hall! Let someone know making "Ignition (Remix)" the official song of Chicago is the legislative equivalent of Cristal poppin' in a stretch Navigator. Take your key of democracy and stick it in the ignition of change, people.
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.
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