California 5th Grader Featured in Controversial Coca-Cola Ad

By Peggy Bunker and Kiana Bellinger
|  Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014  |  Updated 6:07 PM PDT
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Super Bowl XLVIII Photos

Coca-Cola/YouTube

Naya Salah singing in the Coke commercial "Is Beautiful."

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The controversial Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad "It's Beautiful," featuring California native Naya Salah, will air during the opening for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics despite some viewer backlash.

In the ad, the soda company uses one of America's most patriotic songs, "America the Beautiful," sung in eight different languages by people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The ad, shown below, immediately sparked some negative reviews on social media, especially Twitter.

“Worst Super Bowl Commercial: Coca Cola Celebrates ‘Multiculturalism’ By Butchering ‘America The Beautiful’…” tweeted @100percFEDUpmom.

“What was Coca-Cola thinkin singing America the Beautiful in a different language? The song is AMERICA the Beautiful, and we speak ENGLISH,” said a tweet from @MasonAvery15.

"It's America the Beautiful....in ENGLISH @CocaCola...thank you for making me a @Pepsi fan now!!,” tweeted @e2pilot.

Those who generally favored the ad tweeted things like:
Coca Cola brings the commercial of the night: America the Beautiful sung in Spanish, English, Arabic, and other languages. Beautiful,” tweeted @sportswithjohn.
A multilingual "America the Beautiful" commercial? Coca-Cola won the night, tweeted @one_illuminati.

Coca Cola said the commercial is a tribute to America's multi-cultural makeup and acknowledges the country's immigrant history.

Even though the advertisement has created a language controversy, Bay Area’s Stratford Elementary School on Monday revealed that the young girl who sang the song in Arabic was their very own fifth-grader and student body president Naya Salah.

“We're so proud of you, Naya!” the school posted on its website.

"I felt like it was something right to do," Naya said, "because Arabs are starting to get known better, and I'm feeling if there's Arabic on this commercial people will know more about it. I like representing my culture. I feel right about it."

The ongoing debate will likely bring more attention for Salah when the commercial is re-aired during the start of the Winter Olympics.

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