Visceral & Vocal: Artists Harken Back To The '60s And '70s When Artists Took Stands


(CelebrityAccess) — With the American presidential election in full swing, the controversial candidacy of Republican nominee and would-be military strongman Donald Trump has galvanized many artists into expressing their views about the candidate and his political platform, such as it is. Now, as the campaign season winds its way to a merciful conclusion, backlit by the roaring funeral pyre of one America's political parties, we thought we'd take a moment to see just what those artists have to say. Please note that many of the views expressed in the following videos use adult language.

Trump has positioned himself as a demagogue, taking a page from the playbook of past charismatics such as Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, like his modern analog Trump, burst onto the Italian political scene in the 1920s as an outsider who rode a wave of racially driven populism into a position of political power. This same demagoguery and exclusionary language appear to have propelled Trump to the forefront of right-wing politics in the US, but it has also set him squarely against many major artists, who tend to have a broader and more inclusionary sense of America's diverse population.

Cyndi Lauper, long a vocal supporter of LBGT rights and issues, has been a vociferous antagonist of Trump during this election cycle. Lauper had a particularly close view of the GOP candidate after appearing on the celebrity edition of Trump's 'reality' show Apprentice.

“It’s like thug politics. There is a woman standing there and that’s who she has to be with? I can’t even tell you how disappointed and saddened I am. This is our country. This was supposed to be a presidential debate. It was like a third world. … When I saw what I saw last night, I just felt like he’s a bum. He’s a bum and he’s taking us down,” she told the Huffington Post earlier this month.

Even artists who ordinarily might find common cause with some of Trump's potentially valid criticisms about the unseemly enthusiasm of the American political class for so-called free trade deals seem unwilling to get on board with Trump. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen took a particularly sharp tone in expressing his views on Trump:

"Well, you know, the republic is under siege by a moron, basically. The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it's a tragedy for our democracy. When you start talking about elections being rigged, you're pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it's a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don't go back in so easy, if they go back in at all. The ideas he's moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement. The outrageous things that he's done – not immediately disavowing David Duke? These are things that are obviously beyond the pale for any previous political candidate. It would sink your candidacy immediately."

Other artists use their performances as a platform to rail against Donald Trump. As previously covered in CelebrityAccess, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters included strident anti-Trump imagery during his recent closing set at the high profile Desert Trip music festival over the weekend.

Trump's immigration policies and activism on racially driven politics have engendered criticism from numerous Latino artists. In an op-ed he wrote for Univision, Ricky Martin said:

"The fact that an individual like Donald Trump, a candidate for the presidency of the United States for the Republican Party, has the audacity to continue to gratuitously harass the Latin community makes my blood boil."

Colombian artist Shakira added: “No one living in this century should stand behind so much ignorance.”

As well, many artists have taken issue with Trump co-opting their art and music as a tool at his political rallies. Artists such as The Rolling Stones, Meek Mill, REM's Michael Stipe, Neil Young and Adele have all asked Trump to stop using their music at his events. Usher, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton, Josh Groban John Mellencamp, Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and Heart’s Nancy and Ann Wilson all joined in a 'super group' organized by John Oliver to take issue with Trump's use of music.

Some video views on Trump

John Oliver's Super Group:

Mac Miller appeared on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Gone, but not forgotten.)

U2 takes a poke at Trump during a recent concert.

Death Cab for Cutie made a song and a music video about The Donald.

Bruce Springsteen expresses himself politely, yet candidly during an interview.

Marc Anthony takes issue with Donald Trump's stance on immigration issues

Neil Young is succinct with his views on Trump

As is Bachata artist Romeo Santos

T.I. lets his fans known in no uncertain terms how he feels about the GOP candidate.