Famous Musicians Join the Resistance with Protest Anthems
Musicians such as Arcade Fire, Fiona Apple, and Pat Benatar contribute to one of the biggest protests in US history by using their talents to create march anthems.
Protest with Music
On January 21, 2017 thousands around the globe participated in one of the largest protests against Donald Trumps presidency as well as issues that the government has yet to fix. The event was filled with diverse men, women, and children all using their voice to demand change. Many celebrities and musicians joined the protest to make the people’s voices even louder. The march didn’t end there. It started an uproar that will echo throughout these next four years.
Grammy award winners Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples collaborated on a song titled “I Give You Power” to lead the protesters in their rally cries. Arcade Fire is known, not only for their brilliance in music composition, but their humanitarianism including their generous donations to Haiti. Mavis Staples is a well known singer who is also a civil rights activist. She performed for Martin Luther King Jr. and has worked with various artists such as Prince. The song was made to sound as a chant that the protesters could repeat as they marched. The lyrics, “I give you power over me. I give you power but now I gotta be free. I give you power but now I say. I give you power I can take it away” portray an uprising. These verses serve as a demand for freedom. Since Donald Trump has gained his power from the people, the lyric reiterates that it is the people who can take it away. All the proceeds of the song were donated to the ACLU.
Fiona Apple exercises her voice as a singer as well as an activist. She sung at a benefit to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and has contributed to the women’s march by creating a song for the protesters titled “Tiny Hands”. The rhythm of the song was also made to be sung as a chant by the protesters. Fiona Apple’s catchy lyrics were used to turn President Trump’s words (grab em by the pussy) against himself. Her lyrics were, “We don’t want your tiny hands anywhere near our underpants.” Fiona Apple’s lyrics allowed women to unite by rejecting President Trump and his misogynistic views. The beauty is picturing hundreds of women chant these lyrics towards a man who can only see women for their sexuality.
Pat Benatar is famous for her singles “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Love is a Battlefield”, and many others. Her political views have remained private until Trump became president. The disbelief of our changing government had sparked a song in Pat Benatar that would serve to motivate those who marched on January 21st. “Shine” is a full song that resembles “Imagine” by John Lennon. It doesn’t share the same melody or lyrics, but it contains a message that unites and uplifts those who are victims of these political changes. “Truth is the answer. Love is the reason. Fairness, respect, liberty, freedom. Tireless defenders standing together.” This lyric defines the very reason behind the march. The protest was not only spurred from anger but it was a way for people to show that they stood for fairness, respect, liberty, and freedom for everyone regardless of their gender, race, etc. Those who marched are the tireless defenders standing for what America is really about. “The call of the wild pouring into the streets. Emotional freedom means more than you think.” This has many meanings, but I feel it represents our freedom to use our voice when we disagree with higher powers. There are people in other countries who are silenced by their leaders, but here in America we have the privilege to feel and express what it is we feel. “Never go back. Only go forward. Mothers, sisters, lovers, and daughters.” This lyric represents the movement of women changing the world together. We aren’t going to let this country go backwards in time.
It is important that people, especially those who have fame, use their voice to unite with each other to make a difference. Arcade Fire, Mavis Staples, Fiona Apple, Pat Benatar, and many others are using their music to give people the courage to practice parrhesia. Those who aren’t in power have the chance to speak their truth and preach what they believe is right. The music unites the people and gives them a voice that will be heard. It is also important because these are the idols that the next generation will be looking up to. Those who have a platform will inspire men, women, and children to find their voices and use it to resist the changes to come.