American Idol alum Alyssa Raghu performed the National Anthem on Sunday (Sept 22) in front of TWO heads of state. She sang the Star Spangled Banner for Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and the US president Donald Trump at the “Howdy Modi” rally, which took place in Houston Texas. The event was one of the largest United States gatherings of the Indian diaspora in history.
A side note: In an Instagram story, Alyssa expressed excitement that 50,000 people were attending the event and 400,000 watching all over the world. That’s pretty heady stuff for a young singer. However, like America’s Trump, Modi is a controversial figure.
Elected to office in 2014, the Indian prime minister is a member of a right wing Hindu nationalist party that has clamped down on citizens’ civil rights and freedom of expression–particularly for Indian minorities. Click for a lengthy report on Modi’s human rights issues at Human Rights Watch.
For instance, In August, Modi removed article 370 from the Indian Constitution, which granted the Muslim majority country Kashmir a degree of autonomy. Modi has also suspended Kashmir’s internet and cell service. The short of it is, while some Indian Americans enthusiastically attended the event, there were others outside the venue protesting. Click this link for more on the “Howdy Modi” rally.
Check out Alyssa singing the National Anthem below. She does a great job. Performing in front of so many people and two heads of state had to be nerve wracking! Kudos to Alyssa for keeping her cool.
Alyssa, you might recall, made the Top 24 on American Idol in 2018, returned for the 2019 season, and left the competition at the Top 8. In August, she released a single “Criminal” and has been keeping busy performing at various events.
For instance, on September 18, Alyssa performed, in Spanish, at the 23rd National Hispanic Foundation For The Arts’ Noche De Gala in Washington, DC. “Last night’s Gala was BEAUTIFUL. A wonderful night to be multicultural,” wrote Alyssa on Facebook. “Thank you to the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts for supporting me and giving Latino’s EVERYWHERE a voice to be heard. I love you!” Alyssa’s mom is Guyanese while her dad is Indian. She’s been representing both sides of the family this week!
Alyssa’s dress for the “Howdy Modi” rally is gorgeous.