Last weekend was a profound whirlwind. My emotions were all over the place as I prepared to head down to Washington D.C. to sing in protest to Trump’s inauguration. Of course, I was deeply concerned about the state of this country and of this world as the new Trump regime rolls in. I was also emotionally preparing for three important performances: a DisruptJ20 concert on Thursday night, a performance at the DisruptJ20 rally on Friday, and a performance at the Women’s March on Saturday. As we rolled into our hotel in New Jersey I could barely sleep as I anticipated what was to come. I couldn’t decide if I was emotionally preparing for an apocalypse or the biggest people’s uprising I’ve ever seen. Luckily, I believe the later was most reflected, and I am still riding on the high of the energy of the powerful call of resistance I experienced throughout the weekend.
Our Thursday night performance was at the Rock and Roll Hotel and featured Immortal Technique, Sammus, Evan Greer, Rebel Diaz, and Jeff Rosenstock. The venue filled to the brim with people ready to release their fears and fill their spirits with power of the people. Check out some beautiful photos by Kiki Vassilakis
The next day I travelled to the Disruptj20 rally to sing, and on my way there I was surprised by how empty the streets were. It was clear that not many people were there for the inauguration. However, when we got off the train and arrived at McPhearson Square, the streets were filled with thousands of protesters. With hope pumping in my veins, I jumped on stage and proudly sang “Freedom”. To the left of me I could see smoke filling the air with tear gas and could hear concussion grenades. I worried for those protesters who were now barricaded into the area. I prayed for my friends and all those who were in there, and gave thanks for their courage.
The next morning I awoke to prepare for the Women’s March where I would be one of the opening performers. I was thrilled to be sharing the stage with activists I admire such as Angela Davis, Janet Mock, and Gloria Steinem, and artists I love like Toshi Reagon, Climbing PoeTree, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Angelique Kidjo, The Indigo Girls and Madonna. When I arrived at 6:30am the streets were already beginning to fill with thousands of women. And when I walked onto the stage and looked at the crowd, they looked like a powerful ocean. After Ashley Judd spoke, we got onto the stage and joined Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely to perform “War Cry”.
After our performance, I had the opportunity to connect with some of the amazing artists and activist that were performing and in the audience.
My favorite part of the day, however, was having the opportunity to go back on stage and perform “Ella’s Song”, one of my favorite’s songs in the world, written by Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock. I joined Toshi Reagon, Angelique Kidjo, and many of the artists and we sang with full open hearts to a million women marching us into a more hopeful future.