Leftist singer John Legend has teamed up with fellow "The Voice" judge Kelly Clarkson to release a new "woke" version of the now-controversial holiday song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
What are the details?
Vanity Fair reported that Legend penned updated lyrics with writer and actress Natasha Rothwell, and Clarkson has joined Legend in recording the classic duet. According to Vulture, the standalone single is set to be released just in time for Christmas.
Legend has given a short sample of some of his politically-correct version:
Clarkson sings, "What will my friends think..."
To which Legend responds, "I think they should rejoice,"
Clarkson: "...if I have one more drink?'
Legend: "It's your body, and your choice."
What's wrong with the original version?
Last year, NPR reported that radio stations were increasingly refusing to play "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in the #MeToo era, because, "to some, [the lyrics] ring date-rape warning bells, rather than evoking innocent snow-bound flirtation."
The original version of the duet was written in 1944, and as NPR notes, features "a female voice trying to tear herself away from her date in myriad ways: 'I've got to get away...Hey, what's in this drink?' And finally, 'The answer is no.'"
The BBC reported that the particular line, "What's in this drink?" could — according to critics — "refer to date rape."
Indeed, the writer of the Vanity Fair article on Legend admitted to giving the musician a "skeptical" look when he offered to perform the tune. But the reporter gushed that the updated version is "every bit as fun and swinging as the original, and its newfound sensitivity feels genuine, not performative."
Legend has been an outspoken defender of women in the #MeToo era, and has received credit for speaking out against fellow singer R. Kelly in the midst of the numerous rape allegations lobbed against Kelly (both in the past and more recently).
Time will tell if Legend's updated version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" will catch on. It could be accepted as a compromise for radio stations looking for an alternative to the classic version. But as Brian Figula, program director for KOIT-FM in San Francisco told NPR last year, "People are unbelievably passionate about their Christmas music, it's the one thing that you can't mess with."