You’re right. We as a culture tend to bleach out the bad stuff. Was that part of the motivation for some of your music choices? We were working on many of the songs pre- election—and then post-election—the songs took on a whole different meaning. “Edelweiss” was always on the record, but the politics of it came forward after the election. We were working on “Wash That Man,” but it became political (Laughs) after the election. It was supposed to be a woman, but after the election, it became Todrick Hall and myself. I remember thinking, “We are the exact people, who they are trying to silence and erase.” I mean, they took us off the fucking census...They just erased us. I know, it’s pretty unsettling…And just a little terrifying. No, it’s not. I’m not terrified, I am done being terrified. Now it’s time to start fighting. We have had to do this before...And we will do it again. We certainly have and if there is one group who can step up to the fight, it’s the LGBT community. The silver lining, is that it is activating people in a way I haven’t seen in years. That’s true. We’re engage again. I’ve been trying

to say this for years, “Child, it’s not over. We still have work to do.” As a black man, not much has changed and we have been trying to tell ya’ll that for years. You say, “Black Life’s Matter” and we were clowned. “All lives matter you guys, we’re beyond racism, we’re beyond all that. It’s just not where we are, so get over it.” Well, now everybody knows and everybody sees that we’re not passed it. We have to stay focused and vigilant and should remain engaged and to fight for the rights that we’ve won. They don’t just stay there, you have to fight to

keep them. I think that’s the hard part and has been the hard reality to face. Once you do have these successes, to not take them for granted and to stay vigilant. I interviewed Jeff Nichols as a part of promoting the film,Loving and he said something that really stuck with me. He talked about the idea that equality is not something we achieve, because as a society, we’re always evolving and so it is something we must stay aware of and constantly redefine. That’s a really beautiful sentiment, and it’s

the truth.

It’s not in any way a hopeless statement, it just means we have to stay vigilant and keep on our toes.

Right. Like democracy means we have to come

out and vote in the primaries and not just the general election. We can’t sit on our asses, Democrats need to learn some things from those Republicans. They never stop working, they never stop the rhetoric, or sit back and think they have won anything. They cheat and they cheat and they cheat and they cheat, the whole time, even if we’re winning, they just rewrite the rules. We’re sitting here thinking we’ve won something and so we can sit and eat bonbons and celebrate. (Laughs) “We got a black president…It’s all in the bag.” (Laughs) I’m loving this interview. It’s so refreshing to talk to someone who isn’t afraid to have an opinion. Child, don’t get me started. I’ve been trying to be

nice, but I’m at the point where I’m thinking, “For who and for what?” The gloves are off and we need to step up. Look, this album is all about love and I want to address all of this with as much love as I can. One of the things that was the most powerful for me happened just recently. I was recently in Key Largo and Ocean Reef, which may just as well have been Mar-a-Lago, because every single person who lived on this 25,000-acre facility was white. And notably, everybody who served them, was black. There wasn’t a black person on that reef who wasn’t in the service business. All except for the front desk—those who checked in the visitors—they were all white. It was horrifying to me. It’s really, really, hard sometimes and as artists

we need to keep working on it. I talk about this in my concerts and do all my political stuff in these places. I say, “I’m not coming here as a Democrat or as a Republican, I’m not here as a conservative or liberal. I’m coming here as a human being who is trying to reach across this isle with love and talk to ya’ll so we can figure out how to come together somewhere in the middle. You never get everything that you want, it’s a compromise, it’s always been a compromise…Always. There is a unique ability, particularly with music, to break down walls and open doors. I’ve said it many times, “Beautiful music, beautiful art, rendered well—on face value is really hard to hate—even if it’s something that you might not

MAY 2017 |

MAY 2017 | RAGE monthlyRAGE monthly


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