Ani DiFranco has never been shy about putting her political beliefs into song, which makes us wonder why it took so long to see the feminist icon show up in the anti-Donald Trump protest song project “30 Days, 30 Songs” (recently expanded to “30 Days, 40 Songs”).
DiFranco’s entry, “Play God,” is actually the first single off of her forthcoming album Binary, a live recording of which from Red Rocks is exclusive to Spotify. The song is about women’s reproductive rights, and DiFranco says it’s appropriate for a campaign trying to keep Trump from being elected:
“Play God” is a song that recognizes reproductive freedom as a civil rights issue. As a society, it is time to acknowledge that unless a woman is in control of her own reproduction, she is not free, and it is the responsibility of our American government to protect and ensure the freedom of all American citizens. It is time we get serious about addressing and achieving this great unfinished business of civil rights in America. Only a constitutional amendment can ultimately save us from the whim of misogynists like Trump who have a vision of women as sexual objects and reproductive slaves.
The other song released today is Helado Negro’s “Young, Latin and Proud” off of his album Caliente. Though the song wasn’t written specifically for “30 Days, 30 Songs,” its discussion of pride and identity is fitting considering Trump launched his campaign targeting Latino people. Helado Negro said in his statement:
This is the first election that I’m voting in. I’ve never followed an election so closely. I feel the need to participate. I’m not voting for Trump.
This song was written as a message of encouragement to myself. A me that was younger, growing up around all of the noise about who you should be or how you should be as a young man, a brown boy, a Latino person. It’s weird and can feel uncomfortable lots of times. The song falls in between whispering and shouting. It’s me telling myself that it’s okay to be all of these different things.
“30 Days, 30 Songs” also released an extra song late yesterday, “Makin’ It Great Again.!” by Andrew St. James. Sounding not unlike something Bob Dylan might have written for Bringing It All Back Home, St. James’ song is about the problems that led to Trump, problems America will be left with when the election is over. St. James said of the song:
Donald Trump is one of the biggest embarrassments in American History. The rise of Trump has unveiled our systematic and cultural bigotry, a force that for decades has hidden behind false civility and political rhetoric. There is a huge cultural divide in the United States and at times our differences seem irreconcilable. The lack of awareness evident in our populous is frightening. There once was a sense that we had common ground—it looks as if we have lost sight of that. As the odds against Trump grow longer, and the end of this election cycle nears, I am worried that the deeper problems exposed here will go forgotten. Trump is just a symptom of a larger sickness that threatens the Union itself. “Makin’ It Great Again.!” was written about that.
You can watch the video for DiFranco’s single above, and listen to Paste Cloud audio from a 1996 concert below. Helado Negro and St. James’ songs are embedded beneath that.