Saturday, June 8, 2019

Still Life with Robin: Be Free - A Song for the 51st State
by Peggy Robin

If DC ever becomes the 51st state, it will need a state song. Well, this isn’t it – see: -- it’s more in the nature of a “wannabe-a-state” plea/spoken-word/hip-hop mashup, more suitable for a pep rally than for a state’s anthem. Our state’s song is still to be written. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time, as statehood is not about to come through this week, or this month, or even this year. But I’m boosting the “Be Free DC” song because it does something that DC residents from all eight wards can appreciate: it names each ward and gives a shout-out to the landmarks, personalities, and iconic items of each one.

Ward 3, as it happens, plays a dominant role in the music video, as so much of it was shot at the entrance to the National Zoo on Connecticut Avenue. You’ll also catch glimpses of the Uptown Theater façade and the glass clock tower across from the entrance to the Zoo, in front of Baked by Yael (definitely a Ward 3 landmark to be appreciated!) Other scenes were shot inside the Zoo: one in front of a fish tank (implying, perhaps, that our politics are sometimes a bit fishy?), and another, inserted ironically (I assume) just as the line “want to be free” is sung over a shot of the Zoo’s elephants, sadly confined behind the wires of their too-small outdoor exercise pen.

With or without a song to sing, if you are hoping to give a boost to statehood, you’ll have your first real chance in 26 years to rally ‘round the 51-star flag, when Congress holds a hearing on statehood on July 24. (See: Mark your calendars, and get out your buttons, T-shirts, and statehood paraphernalia, so you’ll be appropriately outfitted for the event. Don’t have the right look? You can stock up on T-shirts and get a onesie for your DC baby on the CafePress web page at DC Vote: Go to and hit the “shop” link at the bottom of the page, or go directly to the shopping site at

But why wait for Congress to act to give us a 51-star flag when you can have that NOW? Buy it here: (or go to if the long link above is broken).

It makes a great Fourth of July present!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

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