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The Neil Young Archives Twitter account wrote, in response to two videos of “Like a Hurricane” and “Rockin’ in the Free World” being played before Trump took the stage, “This is NOT ok with me” and “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux.”
Young has previously spoken out against Trump and his songs being played at the president’s rallies, penning an open letter earlier this year that criticized Trump’s presidency and expressed his support for then Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“Your policies, decisions and short term thinking continue to exacerbate the Climate Crisis,” Young wrote in part in his letter, before adding in reference to former President Barack Obama, “our first black president was a better man than you are.”
As for “Rockin’ in the Free World” being played at Trump’s events, Young wrote that the track is “not a song you can trot out at one of your rallies.”
The Canadian rocker, who reportedly became a U.S. citizen in January, added, “Every time ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’ or one of my songs is played at your rallies, I hope you hear my voice. Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying U.S. citizen who does not support you.”
Young’s support for the Lakota Sioux aligns him with Native American protesters, some of whom blocked the main road to the monument ahead of the president’s arrival while playing Lakota music and holding signs that read “You Are On Stolen Land.”
In a statement prior to the event, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said, “Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.”
During his speech, Trump focused on the destruction by protesters in recent weeks of monuments and statues that honor those who have benefited from slavery.
He accused such demonstrators of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”
“This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,” Trump said. “We will not be terrorized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people…It will not happen.”
The president also announced that he was signing an executive order to establish a National Garden of American Heroes.
Young, who has long been battling with Trump over the president’s use of Rockin’ in the Free World, is just the latest musician to object to Trump playing their songs against their wishes. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/8483929/neil-young-slams-trump-rockin-in-the-free-world-usage
Other artists who’ve objected to their music being played at Trump’s events include Rihanna and Guns N’ Roses.
The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty’s family in recent weeks have spoken out against the use of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “I Won’t Back Down” at campaign rallies, including Trump’s recent event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Stones have gone so far as to have their legal team work with music-rights organization BMI to stop the use of their music as part of Trump’s reelection campaign. The band has already told him to cease and desist using their music.
“The BMI have notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement,”’ the Stones said, according to the Associated Press. “If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.’”
Petty’s family, meanwhile, released a statement reading in part, “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind. Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his to be used in a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
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