Distinctive Mississippi Flag Designs Embrace Mississippi’s Greatest Heritage (Gulfport, Mississippi) With over 2,700 new flag submissions vying for the coveted title as Mississippi’s next flag design, Mississippi native, Paula Vega Vondenstein, of Bible Belt Blues, knew her designs had to stand out above all the rest. Knowing full well that most flag designs would feature either a magnolia or stars and stripes in red, white, and blue, Paula did an intensive study on all state flags in her quest to be deliberately different. For inspiration Paula looked no further than Mississippi’s greatest heritage, the “birthplace of the blues.” After all, Mississippi’s choice for the 2017 bicentennial stamp did feature the hands of Bentonia, Mississippi’s bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes playing his guitar. But could a guitar symbol actually work on a flag? It had to be a stunning, yet simple design to work and it had to look great when it was flown. It sounded like a crazy idea, but Paula was convinced that it would work. Mississippi could finally lay to rest its outdated, controversial confederate flag that has been viewed by many to be racist and have it replaced with a colorful new flag with a big bold bluesy guitar that could honestly be labeled as the “coolest state flag in America.” And we could actually get away with it since we are in fact the “birthplace of the blues.” The words, “In God We Trust,” criteria for all Mississippi flag design submissions, are woven into Paula’s designs with a continuous ribbon reading as three separate sentences: “In God We Trust” “Trust in God” and “We Trust in God.” Paula submitted a guitar flag design in the traditional colors of red, white, and blue and an untraditional one in cobalt blue, yellow and white. (Blue: our blues heritage, Mississippi River, and the healing of our state; Yellow: the monumental rebirth of our state to where it is today: a place where all people can live together in harmony. White: the strength of our people whose faith is the cornerstone of their lives).
The general public can view all flag design submissions on the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History’ website and continue to watch weekly as the nine member commission’s flag choices are narrowed down to five flags by August 25, 2020. The public can make comments on the website from Aug. 25th –Sept. 2nd. One flag design will be chosen on Sept. 2nd by the nine member commission and will be placed on the Nov. 3rd ballot. Amid racial unrest stemming from the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Mississippi’s Governor, Tate Reeves, signed a bill on June 30th to authorize the removal of the confederate emblem from the state flag. It was signed just two days after the Mississippi Legislature voted to change the state flag.
A website created by Harold and Paula Vega Vondenstein showcases Paula’s guitar flag designs using digital simulation to show them on flagpoles blowing in the wind. (www.MSGuitarFlags.com) An original early Mississippi Bentonia blues style song, “Old Man River” was created specifically for this new flag design and was recorded live, one-take without any cuts, and performed by her husband, Harold Vega Vondenstein.
About Bible Belt Blues
Paula and Harold Vega Vondenstein are Bible Belt Blues, award winning Gospel Blues musicians whose music is reminiscent of early Mississippi Bentonia blues with its gritty guitar picking and its hauntingly beautiful minor chords. Best known for their repentance and church revival songs, Bible Belt Blues has received numerous accolades including the 2019 Josie Music Award for Gospel/ Christian Duo, the 2020 Josie Music Award Finalist Nomination for Duo of the Year, and Finalist for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian-America in the Intercontinental Music Awards. They are currently working on their third album. For more information about Bible Belt Blues, please visit their website. For more information on the Mississippi Guitar Flags by Paula Vega Vondenstein, please visit this special website.
Contact: Paula Vega Vondenstein Producer, Lyricist, & Marketing Director for Bible Belt Blues
Phone: (228) 357-0088