Artists, singers, actors, writers and activists appeared at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in droves on Saturday. But how will the notable attendees keep their activism fires burning after the nationwide protest?
Behind the main stage at the march, we asked the performing artists who lent their name to the post-inauguration demonstration a simple question: How will you reflect the change that you want to see in America?
Patricia Richardson, actress from “The West Wing” and the popular 1990s sitcom “Home Improvement,” has been addressing her fans directly.
“Because I was on ‘Home Improvement,’ which is a real red state sort of show,” she said, “I’ve been having this probably ridiculous dream that I could persuade some of my followers — who are very conservative — over to our side. I’m constantly, sort of, tweeting things that I know that they wouldn’t see otherwise because all they do is watch Fox News. You can’t believe the things that people quote back to me, that I know they’re getting from reading fake news.”
Singer Jidenna said, “As an artist in hip-hop, which traditionally is known for degrading women, I really hope that my music is celebrating women as more than props, more than as mere bodily parts. I love the pink ‘pussy hats.’ I think it’s hilarious. I like that embracing of women’s bodies in that way, I don’t think we have to do away with the celebration of women’s bodies, but it can’t be a degradation of women’s bodies.”
Isis Valentino and Alex Belle of the band St. Beauty appeared onstage with Jidenna and singer and “Hidden Figures” actress Janelle Monáe, who brought mothers of young African Americans slain by police or gun violence before the crowd and performed her song of protest “Hell You Talmbout” with Jidenna.
“As an artist, because we have a platform,” Valentino said backstage, “it’s definitely a move to let people know how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about women. This is a powerful statement that all of the musicians, actors and everybody who’s here are doing so. I think it’s important if you have a platform, whatever you believe in, speak out.”
“This is a nonviolent protest,” said actress and director Amber Tamblyn. “This is people just showing up and making sure that their voices are heard going forward in this administration, because the administration has made it pretty clear that women’s rights and women’s voices don’t count. So I think it’s really important for them to see the message that we’re sending today, which is that we’re watching.”
Even Cher was seen working the press line trying to get the word out: "I want to protest. I want to speak up. I want to lend my name. I want to do everything that’s possible that I can think of,” the diva said.
Actress and singer Zendaya, a member of the Women’s March artists’ table, said that being an activist was just as important to her as being an artist. “I choose to use the popularity or the numbers that I get from doing a movie or Instagram or whatever to shed light on things like this, because this is really what’s most important. This is really where my heart lies.”
As for what happens next, she said, “We’re going to keep being out here and keep doing this until our voices are heard. I just want to see positive change. I think that’s the most important thing. As long as we’re moving forwards and not backwards. We don’t want to be great again, we want to create greatness. Let’s do that.”