Canadian artist K’naan angered by Romney’s campaign song choice

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Brew

You can call Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney many things, but don't call him freedom.

Do so and risk the wrath of K'naan Warsame, whose hit song Wavin' Flag was adopted by the Romney campaign on Tuesday ­— much to the chagrin of the Canadian artist.

As the Toronto Star reports, Romney revealed his new "victory song" after crushing the competition during last night's Florida primary.

Wavin' Flag became a worldwide sensation in 2010 with its message of hope and rising to greatness despite numerous obstacles.

It was later re-recorded by some of the country's top singers and released to raise funds for the victims of Haiti's devastating earthquake.

Versions of Wavin' Flag soon popped up in dozens of languages and the song became the official track of sponsor Coca Cola during the World Cup later that year.

But there appears to be one place where K'naan draws the line. Shortly after learning of the Romney campaign's musical selection, K'naan tweeted his reaction — and he was anything but flattered.

"Yo @mittromney I am K'naan Warsame and I do not endorse this message," he wrote, mimicking the frequent tagline of official political ads.

Considering the number of artists who have refused to let politicians use their songs during campaign season, it's no surprise that Romney's move angered the award-winning artist.

Earlier in the week, Romney's main rival Newt Gingrich got slapped with a lawsuit by Frank Sullivan, co-writer of Eye of the Tiger, after Gingrich co-opted the song to play at his rallies.

The Foo Fighters had a similar reaction when Republican nominee John McCain took to playing one of their songs during his 2008 campaign.

And back in the early days of politics and rock n' roll, Ronald Regan irritated Bruce Springsteen when the politician picked up his iconic tune, Born in the USA.

All this might have been avoided, however, if Romney had simply asked permission to use the track, like he did when he wanted to adopt Kid Rock's Born Free.

Kid Rock gave Romney his blessing to use the song, adding that he'd do the same for any politician who asked.

As the Globe and Mail notes, nobody bothered to extend the same courtesy to K'naan.