Those in the music and entertainment industry are never usually never afraid to speak out, either for or against political and social issues. They tend to use their popularity and pop culture prominence as a platform to do so. We may never again see such heated perspectives and stances taken as we have over the past year, with the rise of President Trump and his administration.
Countless musicians, actors, and celebrities alike have lead rallies, held concerts, and spoke out at (in)opportune times, in an effort to quell inhumane, unequal, and perhaps unconstitutional policies and bigot laced rhetoric. I say “inopportune” because holding rallies alongside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland or using a nationally televised awards show to blast the President of the United States, quite frankly, pisses a lot of people off — including the President himself. While these incidents are part of what is becoming a movement against President Trump’s regime, there are some bands out there who are taking slightly different and more tangible measures against the President’s reign. Perhaps the most prominent, aggressive band taking a stand is Pinegrove, a New Jersey-based indie rock band.
Pinegrove released a live EP titled Elsewhere on inauguration day. Found exclusively online on Bandcamp, the album doesn’t have a price but rather one can “pay what you want” for it, in which all profits are then being donated to The Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC assists impoverished individuals with legal defense, particularly in the area of civil rights. The album features songs from 2016’s Cardinal, which found its way onto several critically acclaimed best of lists, including our Top Albums of 2016 list.
The band had previously made headlines following the election after opening up their entire Bandcamp catalog for a “pay what you want” price, then donating all profits to Planned Parenthood. Through t-shirt sales and collection jars at live shows, they have also been able to donate money to support those seeking justice at Standing Rock. In a recent Facebook post, the band detailed theses efforts, how much money they’ve raised, and why they are doing so:
“hi everybody! we’d like to present to you a group of 8 songs, recorded live in November last year! we’d like to offer them for free/donations as a thank you for all the support you’ve given us this year & always. we’ll be donating all of Your donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is an anti-hate legal defense organization with a long history of civil rights advocacy. now also seems like a good time to thank you for your past contributions—with your help we donat…ed $2,423 to support the water protectors at Standing Rock, and $7,284 dollars to Planned Parenthood (which on this particular day a donor agreed to triple any donation made, bringing the total to over $21,000!!). needless to say we are so so excited to see such a ray of generosity in a time when our country really needs it. & if you want to contribute more, our entire catalogue will be available for Pay What You Want for the rest of the weekend, donations also to SPLC . thank you everybody. much love <&”
These are impressive numbers coming from an indie band who has little mainstream radio support, if any, and who were relatively unknown until now. While numerous artists have been vocal about issues like Planned Parenthood, marginalized communities, and basic human rights, could you imagine if someone like Beyoncé used their fan support to generate money towards these causes? Not to single her out, because Beyoncé surely has helped raise the profile of events like the Women’s March on Washington, but it will take a consistent concerted effort from people like her to turn the current resistance into a movement rather than a flash in the pan.