Donald Trump’s presidency has inspired a political performance movement like no other

Image: Kevin Winter; Dimitrios Kambouris; Randy Shropshire; getty

In the weird era we’re living in today—the one in which Donald Trump is the president, Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water, and the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Jemele Hill are being attacked by the White House—art somehow manages to continue on. 

But because of the platform many artists, particularly musicians, are afforded these days, it’s becoming harder and harder to find art that doesn’t have a political leaning, whether explicit or not.

Eminem’s biting freestyle at the 2017 BET awards sparked conversation about who has been speaking up publicly against policies (and politicians) a là Public Enemy in the 1980s, and while the list has gotten extensive since the election, here are some you may have missed.

1. Aminé’s political rendition of “Caroline”

The Portland, Oregon, rapper’s television debut came a week after the election of Trump, and in light of the political climate, the 23-year-old spun his viral hit “Caroline” into a political moment. Aminé added stirring lyrics about the recent election, his identity, and the divided nation. 

“9/11, a day that we never forgettin’, 11/9, a day that we always regrettin’ / If my President is Trump then it’s relevant enough / To talk ’bout it on TV and not give a fuck / I’m black and I’m proud / My skin is brown and I’m loud,” he rapped, before adding a direct line to Trump himself: You can never make America great again, all you ever did was make this country hate again.”

2. A Tribe Called Quest, joined by Anderson .Paak, speak out at the Grammys

A Tribe Called Quest’s music usually speaks for itself but before their performance of “We the People” at the 2017 Grammys, Busta Rhymes had to clarify exactly what they were there to do.

“I want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States,” he said, after saying he wasn’t feeling the political climate. “I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim Ban.”

3. Shakespeare in the Park’s take on Julius Caesar sparked controversy and free speech debates

The play, which features a Donald Trump look-a-like as Ceasar, sparked controversy this summer after Trump supporters protested the performance, including one who yelled “this is violence against Donald Trump” during the assassination scene. 

Sponsorships were pulled, including Delta and Bank of America, and a conversation about silencing artists began bubbling. The Public Theatre responded to the backlash with a powerful statement: “We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”

4. Green Day leads a chant at the American Music Awards

During a performance at the 2016 American Music Awards, Green Day took an opportunity in the middle of their song “Bang Bang” to call out Trump with a chant. 

“No Trump, no KKK, no racist U.S.A,” the punk band repeated, taking on the chants of protestors who poured into the streets after the election. 

5. Hamilton cast delivers message to Trump-Pence administration

While the show itself did not change to reflect vice president Mike Pence’s attendance, the cast of the critically acclaimed Hamilton did break routine to deliver a passionate message to the Trump administration. 

“We, sir, we, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Vice President Aaron Burr, said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

6. Stevie Wonder takes two knees for racial justice and equality for all

“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” Stevie Wonder said at the Global Citizen Festival, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, one of Trump’s many targets over this year. “But not just one knee, I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our futures, our leaders of the globe, and our world.”

7. Pink Floyd’s anti-Trump tour

“We need to survive his presidency because it’s totally unpredictable,” Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters said to CNN. The band’s tour features significant amount of anti-Trump imagery. 

“I do find it slightly surprising that anybody could have been listening to my songs for 50 years without understanding,” Waters said to CNN when asked if it was important if his fans understand his music. “Go see Katy Perry or watch the Kardashians. I don’t care,” he said, in response to people who may want politics and music separated. 

8. Eminem destroys Trump in a freestyle

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about Eminem’s brutal freestyle. The Detroit native destroyed the president, uplifted Colin Kaepernick, and called out his fans who might be supporting the Trump administration—all with biting wordplay. “Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for, ’cause that’s how he gets his fuckin’ rocks off and he’s orange,” Eminem raps at one point. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/11/anti-trump-performances/

Marissa SafontDonald Trump’s presidency has inspired a political performance movement like no other

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