Laura Romaniello / Art Director

Joseph Guzman

Equinox Staff

Typically when you’re an artist of any kind, you want/ any kind of  exposure for your music. Well, maybe not all publicity is good publicity. There are some specific musicians who would rather the President of the United States not play their music during his controversial and popular “Trump rallies.” The rallies have been going on since Donald Trump started his campaign for the 2016 election.  There have been many artists who have had more than unpleasant exchanges with the president and his team, but here are some of the highlights.

The most recent example that drew this topic back into the eyes of the media involves pop star and icon Rihanna. On Nov. 4 at around 12 p.m. Rihanna endorsed Democrat politician Andrew Gillum. Just three hours later Philip Rucker, the White House Bureau Chief, tweeted: “It’s been said a million times, […] Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics. Currently, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” is blaring in Chattanooga as aides toss free Trump T-shirts into the crowd, like a ball game. Everyone’s loving it.” It took Rihanna only an hour to find that tweet, then respond with: “Not for much longer… I nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies,  so thanks for the heads up, Philip!” Insinuating that she will no longer let her music be played there.

The very first person who didn’t want their music to be associated with the at-the-time future president was none other than Canadian singer Neil Young. He wasn’t the happiest when he found that Trump was playing “Rocking in the Free World” and using it as his theme for the official presidential Campaign announcement. When asked to stop using his music at the rallies, Donald Trump’s team replied with: “We will respect [Young’s] wish and not use it because it’s the right thing to do.” Just roughly a week ago, Young decided to speak out against Donald Trump again due to Trump’s continued use of the song on his midterm tour. Young said, “DT does not have my permission to use the song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ at his appearances,[…] it goes against my wishes. […] I asked him then, in a widely shared public letter to cease and desist.” He explained how he believes Trump is hateful and then encouraged people to vote in the midterms.

These are just two out of the 5 incidents that have happened in the past two months. Each continues to snowball, making this issue all the more prevalent. Three first years from Keene State College wanted to ponder this subject too. Darwin Marsh, Jack Amadon, and Giancarlo Turiello were asked their opinions on the hot topic. Off the bat, all three agreed on a lot, saying that the artists should have to say where their music should be played. Marsh even says “I think artists have a right to choose to not have their music played at rallies, especially if the rallies represent a certain political party that the artist doesn’t personally affiliate or agree with.” They all also happened to agree with each other in terms of thinking other artists will follow Rihanna and her rejection alongside Neil Young, Guns and Roses, Steven Tyler, and countless others.  When asked which of the artists did they know officially say they didn’t like Trump using their songs. Only Amadon Knew saying Rihanna and Queen, two of the 14 artists. The last thing the three of them agreed on was that they did not believe that Rihanna was in the wrong for the way she responded to Philip Rucker’s tweet.

Joseph Guzman can be contacted at

jguzman@kscequinox.com