Musician: Important for Anti-Trump Protesters to be 'Speaking Truth to Power'

Artists pay tribute to Smokey Robinson during the 2016 Gershwin Prize For Popular Song Concert in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, 2016. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA via AP)

WASHINGTON – Celebrities from the music industry weighed in on the post-presidential election protests happening in cities across the United States.

Protests have occurred in Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, New York City, Portland, Denver, Seattle and other areas.


“I think that protest is really powerful and important. I think speaking truth to power is something that is necessary and something important for artists to do and to be in touch with instinct, and so I am really happy that all these different protests are happening,” said Grammy Award-winning musician Corinne Bailey Rae before performing at the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Tribute Concert to Smokey Robinson.

“I think the most important issue facing all of us is environmental change and I think that lots of artists are connected to that and we need to talk more about that and have more of an understanding of what that means,” she added.

CeeLo Green, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, was asked if has a message for the protesters.

“Well, this is a start, you know what I mean, as far as the arts and music is concerned. It’s always about raising the appreciation and the awareness, so I believe the first start to any change is acknowledgement – and that’s exactly what I am here to do tonight, is to acknowledge Smokey Robinson as one of our all-time greats and a living legend,” said Green, who was in town to honor Robinson for winning the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress.

JoJo, who has been nominated for Billboard music awards, said she hopes President-elect Donald Trump “facilitates equality” as president. She encouraged young people to continue to “speak up” about the political process.


“Sometimes I feel like it’s silly for me as a musician to comment because I look through, when I do see something on social media, there’s obviously 50/50, people are happy to hear my stance or they’re like, ‘shut up, you’re a singer, keep singing.’ But the way I feel is that there is a lot of deep wounds in America that we need to talk about and we cannot just say that they don’t exist,” she said.

“So I really hope that our future president is going to help start conversations and really facilitate equality and not have us move backwards but instead have us move forward. I have to remain optimistic even though the campaign wasn’t waged in a way that leads me to be optimistic. But what I would say to young people is continue to speak up, continue to make your voices heard – our voices heard – because this is our future,” she added.

BeBe Winans, who has won several Grammy Awards for his gospel music, encouraged the nation to “come together” following the presidential election.

“There’s a song I wrote called ‘We Need One Another Right Now,’ and it’s very simple to understand that no matter our disagreements, if we love one another, we can come together. And so that’s what I’m going to continue to sing about and just not only sing about but do, you know, and I encourage the world to do the same,” he said.


Winans sang “God Bless America” during the “Saluting Those Who Serve” inauguration event that took place in January 2005, which was attended by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Winans, who had campaigned for President Obama, performed at the Republican National Convention in 2012.

“I want to remind people that before any association with any party that we’re all Americans,” Winans said in 2012. “No matter who wins, if we don’t come together and really invest in the country we love, we’re not going to solve the problems.”

All of the artists who were interviewed participated in the tribute concert to Robinson. The event was pre-recorded in Washington last week and PBS stations will air the concert on Feb. 10, 2017.



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