Tom Morello: I Have Never Crossed a Picket Link and I Am Not About to Start
There are some fans of musicians who believe that the entities of politics and entertainment do not mix well. In fact, when a singer decides to speak out about a very controversial social justice issue that is affecting populations around the world, the most common response is that political events should not interfere with a musician’s ability to deliver quality, likable music.
In an interview with Huffington Post, musician Tom Morello, known for standing up for humanity, took a hard stance against playing in Israel, in regards to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
“When Rage played [in Israel] twice, there was no boycott in existence. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Let me put it to you this way: I have never crossed a picket line and I am not about to start.”
Morello, who is also the guitarist for bands such as Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine, believes social justice and radical ideas should be an important aspect of music, rather than subtly hinted at with an obscure, deleted tweet or comment on social media.
It is the responsibility of any artist who is truly cognizant of their power and influence, to make a difference and influence social change.
The social change Morello represents, is not advocating for select rights while singing or performing against others. Music figureheads, such as Madonna and the boy band N’Sync, performances in Israel silenced the voices of the oppressed people of Palestine, who request the boycott. Examples like these bring forth a frightening, and all-too-often occurring phenomenon of lackadaisical, apathetic approach to social activism. More and more musicians today are willing to talk the talk, but very few will actually do anything about it. They fear their stance on something as sensitive as Palestine will destroy their career as a musician, or worse, threaten their livelihoods.
Morello is known for his radical ideas and this is especially proven with his new record label, Firebrand Records.
The Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist is used to causing a stir. He collaborated with the band Calle 13 and artist Kamilya Jurban to make a music video that highlighted an injustice in Palestine. The subject of the video, “Multi Viral”, is the seldom-discussed “Palestine-Israeli conflict.” The subject matter of the music video resembles the mission of Morello’s label.
You can watch the video below: