Yesterday at the Republican National Convention, a man-baby resembling an evil oompa loompa except with worse hair and tinier hands walked out to “We Are the Champions” by Queen.
Queen’s guitarist, Brian May, previously issued a statement via Rolling Stone, indicating that the Trump campaign “neither sought nor [was] given” permission to use Queen’s music and that (speaking on behalf of himself), “I will make sure we take what steps we can to disassociate ourselves from Donald Trump’s unsavoury campaign.” Though an RNC rep claims they paid license to use the song, the official Queen Twitter account documented this as another nonpermitted use of their music by the Trump campaign:
An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) July 19, 2016
This may seem like an obnoxious yet innocuous action when compared to the awful shit D-Trump has done in a lifetime of using and hurting people in his quest for power and wealth. Yet, I wanted to draw attention to it because it was, to me, an interesting moment of erasure and appropriation, and indicative of the myopia and ignorance of Trump and people in his camp.
Namely, it made me want to remind the world that Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury was a beautiful, talented, subversive bisexual man, whose Parsi family were refugees after fleeing violence in Zanzibar (now Tanzania), who celebrated women and femininity, and who passed away of AIDS complications in the height of the crisis ignored and worsened by the Republican Reagan administration.
Trump’s stances on immigrants, refugees, women and all manner of brown and black folks in general are well-documented, and he has jumped on the anti-LGBTQ bandwagon as well. His own running mate, Mike Pence, passed a law that effectively diverted funds from people and organizations that openly supported LGBTQ people and people living with HIV/AIDS in favor of regressive practices like conversion therapy, a debunked form of psuedotorture that aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities. From the LQBT section of the law called “Strengthening American Families”:
Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
So while what songs they play might not be the most important thing to talk about in relation to Trump/Pence mayhem, it’s certainly a symbolic one. Anyone who does not have love and support for immigrants, refugees, LGBTQIA folx, womxn, and those living with HIV/AIDS should keep Freddie’s name out of their mouths and Queen’s music off their speakers, IMHO.
And with that, I leave you with this.