Pop musicians sound off on Trump’s ban on some U.S. entries

Rihanna is among numerous musicians who are voicing their opposition to the Trump administration's executive order suspending refugee arrivals and banning entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Rihanna is among numerous musicians who are voicing their opposition to the Trump administration’s executive order suspending refugee arrivals and banning entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
(Andrew Cowie / EPA)

Many in the pop music community are weighing in with protests against President’s Trump’s executive order Friday that suspends refugee arrivals and bans entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“America is a nation of immigrants, and we find this anti-democratic and fundamentally un-American,” Bruce Springsteen told an audience in Adelaide, Australia, on Monday before he and the E Street Band performed what he introduced as “an immigrant song,” “American Land.”

Pop superstar Rihanna tweeted Saturday, “The news is devastating! America is being ruined right before our eyes!”


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Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, the daughter of country music titan Johnny Cash, tweeted, “This ban is immoral grandstanding. We are becoming something not-America.” After noting the many lawyers who were donating free legal services to those being detained at U.S. airports, she added, “My lawyer just told me that every lawyer he knows with even basic familiarity with immigration law is at an airport right now. God bless.”

Billie Joe Armstrong of Bay Area punk-pop band Green Day wrote on Instagram, “I feel like I’m in a state of shock. The executive orders Trump is signing feels like a vendetta. Trump is not only taking out his revenge on the people who protested him, but also the average American that just didn’t vote for him.”

The responses weren’t limited to individual musicians. Organizers of the annual South by Southwest music-film-technology festival in Austin, Texas, issued a statement saying, “SXSW is alarmed by the Trump administration’s decision to ban citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. We stand against discriminatory laws and unequivocally support civil rights for all persons everywhere. Participation by speakers, artists, and filmmakers from around the world is crucial to the creative mix of ideas that makes our event meaningful.

“We are working to understand how the ban will impact our participants and how we can use our voice to support those directly affected by this executive order.”

Some of those who posted opinions included Southern California metal band Queens of the Stone Age. The group’s singer, Josh Homme, also fronts the Eagles of Death Metal, whose performance at the Bataclan theater in Paris was the site of a deadly terrorist attack in 2015.

A statement from Queens of the Stone Age on Instagram said: “This man is a shallow, inept, multi-bankrupt declaring, narcissistic, narrow minded, out of touch, objectifying, barf inducing, fascist, clown penis... who also happens to be re-stup-redicu-lame.” It also included British statesman Edmund Burke’s oft-quoted call to action, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Several musicians and other entertainers also tweeted and retweeted the statement from Pope Francis arguing that “it’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help.”

Comments came from a broad spectrum of the music world, from pop to rock to R&B, indie and alternative rock, metal and even middle-of-the-road adult pop.

Singer Josh Groban posted several tweets over the weekend, including one urging his followers to embrace unity: “Trump will unite us by trying to divide us. Let THAT be the overwhelming narrative of the next 4 years. Speak up. Be strong. Stand together.”

“Shame on America,” John Legend tweeted. “Shame on Donald Trump.”

Arcade Fire’s Win Butler wrote: “Steve Jobs’ father was Syrian and he was adopted into an American family. This is absolute madness and completely against American interest.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s musician supporters haven’t been quite so vocal on social media. Country singer Toby Keith, who performed at Trump’s inauguration festivities, has not tweeted any politically oriented messages since the directive was issued. Neither has rocker Ted Nugent, a vocal Trump champion during the presidential campaign.

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