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What Fergie’s National Anthem disaster (and response) can teach us about embracing failure

It was truly a noteworthy performance, but for all the wrong reasons.

When Fergie took to the microphone to sing the National Anthem before the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, her delivery didn’t quite get the reaction you’d hope for. In fact, far from it.

Although some came to her defense — including former Lakers player Shaquille O’Neal — the damage just couldn’t be undone.

Watch Fergie’s performance at the NBA All-Star Game

The game’s players and attendees clearly had trouble keeping their reactions to themselves. However, there’s been some debate about whether or not Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was actually reacting to the singer’s performance (he addressed Fergie’s performance after the game, among other topics).

But the criticism also poured in online, of course, with people airing their discontent and comparisons being made to “unique” national anthem performances of the past.

Roseanne Barr appeared to think that Fergie’s performance wasn’t even in the same category as hers, done in 1990, which also made waves for all the wrong reasons, garnering sharp words from President George Bush.

But the songstress didn’t disappear into the shadows following her performance.

What we can take away from Fergie’s apology

Fergie didn’t let the public roasting get her down, reportedly telling TMZ, “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 didn’t shy away from the spotlight after her performance or stay in the shadows. Instead, she embraced the moment and instead of lashing out at others for the chilly reception, she took full responsibility for how her rendition went.

Her apology also seems to show that she took the opportunity to sing America’s national anthem seriously and that musically, she went out on a limb to try something different, even though it didn’t work in her favor. Fergie also makes it abundantly clear that although people didn’t largely praise her performance, her failure shouldn’t be considered intentionally disrespectful. Saying that she “honestly tried my best” shows that Fergie is human, and she seems comfortable with that.

So when you make a big mistake in your career or while representing your employer, it’s better to be upfront about it than to shy away or blame someone else.

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