'Equality is the prime rib of America' and other surreal political moments in pop music
Lady Gaga proclaimed yesterday that "Equality is the prime rib of America
," simultaneously empowering and confusing the hell out of legions of GLBT activists as they rallied against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
While the nation's top socio-political scientists try to decode what Gaga could have possibly meant by this opening statement, we're taking a look back at pop music's often well-intentioned but sometimes mind-boggling entrances into the political sphere.
Wyclef Jean vies for Haitian presidency
On August 5, Haitian-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean announced his intention to run for president of Haiti, a move that was met with much shock and scrutiny (not to mention a few repeated listenings of his single "If I Was President
"). A few weeks later, Haitian officials released their list of 19 approved candidates, and Wyclef's name was not on the list because he didn't meet residency requirements.
Just this morning, Jean issued the following statement: "After weeks of quiet but painstaking reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti."
Elvis fights the war on drugs, while on drugs
Fed up with being blamed as the instigator for what he referred to as the "hippie drug culture," Presley ventured out on his own for the first time in years on December 21, 1970 to demand a meeting with Richard Nixon and a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge. Later, Presley's ongoing battle with prescription drug abuse would surface, revealing that the King was struggling with his own drug use all the while.
Nixon was reportedly a bit weirded out by the meeting (he found it "awkward") but nonetheless took the time to pose for a photo opp and the chance to boost his credibility, if only for a moment.
Kanye West drops the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" bomb on live TV
During a televised fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina relief, Kanye West took a moment to stray from his prepared script and express his views on the situation, eventually blurting out "George Bush doesn't care about black people" while poor co-host Mike Meyers stood beside him, utterly dumbfounded.
Later, Kanye tells Nightline news, "It changed my life for the better. I think people understood me a little bit more. This guy maybe has a little tourets, maybe not quite diagnosed, but the truth just comes out, whatever's on the top of his mind. I'm working off the cusp here. I'm not reading the teleprompter. I'm speaking from the heart."
Sinead O'Connor declares "War" on the PopeIncensed over what she perceived as racism and sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, Sinead O'Connor took advantage of her platform as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live to make a political statement, singing an a capella version of Bob Marley's "War" and ending her performance by drawing out the word "evil" and tearing up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.
The performance has since been removed from the SNL archives and does not appear in syndicated reruns of the episode.
A decade later, when Salon.com asked her if she would change anything about her controversial performance, Sinead replied, "Hell, no!"
Toby Keith tries to get real with "Taliban"
Here we have Toby Keith, making a statement about... something. Oof. Just listen.
The Dixie Chicks speak out against President Bush
It's not easy being a liberal country singer. Just ask Natalie Maines, native Texan and lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, who was met with overwhelming criticism from her fans when she openly criticized President Bush during one of her concerts. "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all," she said. "We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
Fans were outraged. Some even went so far as to host a Dixie Chicks CD destruction party, in which their albums were crushed by a bulldozer. Maines eventually apologized, although fellow politically minded musicians like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Merle Haggard expressed support for her bravery and the press was mostly approving of the band's activism.
Lindsay Lohan attempts political commentary on her Twitter account, fails miserably
This one is like shooting fish in a barrel, but we'll give you a few highlights: Earlier this year, while in India filming a BBC documentary about child traffiking, Lohan pissed off an Indian charity by accidentally taking credit for doing one of the organization's raids herself: "Over 40 children saved so far... Within one day's work... This is what life is about... Doing THIS is a life worth living!!!"
A few short months later, Lohan shot herself in the foot again, this time taking a pause between violating her probation and being sentenced to jail to compare herself to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who was jailed for adultery charges and later stoned to death.
Even her sad little jokes about her troubles are embarrassing... Eeeks!
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