Artists speak out after Trump′s election | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 15.11.2016
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Artists speak out after Trump's election

From disbelief to defiance and cautious hope: Here's what artists of every kind have been saying in the days following the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Katy Perry (Getty Images/A. Rentz)

Katy Perry was disconsolate, then encouraging

On election night, singer Katy Perry's reaction was immediate. She tweeted, "Gonna cry my false eye lashes off tonight." Later, she tried to strike a more upbeat chord: "Do not sit still," she wrote. "Do not weep. Move. We are not a nation that will let hate lead us."

"The world will never be the same," said singer Cher, while American actor Chris Evans labeled the results "embarrassing" for America and added: "We've let a hatemonger lead our great nation. We've let a bully set our course. I'm devastated."

"We don't feel like being associated with this guy," said "Jim," lead singer of the French electronic rock group named Trumps. On Facebook, the group asked for fans' suggestions for a new name. The German electronic group Apparat tweeted, "In any way - I'll help my American friends with German immigration."

Madonna campaigning for Hillary Clinton (picture-alliance/AP Images/G. Allen)

Madonna campaigned for Clinton

On the opposite side of the fence, there was elation. Actor Stephen Baldwin tweeted that he was "proud to have been part of such amazing history," while actor Steven Seagal, another Trump supporter, wrote: "Congratulations @realDonaldTrump for your stunning victory over your opponent! Looking forward to making America great again!"

Waning celebrity influence

Celebrity campaigners have traditionally played a role in US presidential elections, although their influence has varied over the years. Frank Sinatra's support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 is said to have helped him win the narrowly contested race with Richard Nixon. Sinatra later became a Republican and supported Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential campaign, echoing millions of Democrats who, like he, had grown more conservative.

This time, Hillary Clinton had the support of nearly the entire American entertainment industry as well as of prominent artists and authors. Actors, directors and studio executives donated $22 million to the Clinton campaign, while their donations to the Trump campaign totaled less than $300,000. Meryl Streep, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham and other big-name artists all appeared at the Democratic National Convention in July.

Stephen Baldwin (AP)

Stephen Baldwin sees a great new era beginning

Those efforts were either of little avail or might have effectively backfired, contributing to Donald Trump's image of being an outsider. "I'm here all by myself," the candidate said during a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. "Just me, no guitar, no piano, no nothing."

Yet as the former star of a reality TV show, Trump does have own his celebrity status. Since Ronald Reagan, in fact, no other candidate has had a comparative background in the entertainment field.

After rage, hope

In the days following the election, shock and sadness has given way to hope. Madonna tweeted, "We never give up." Fellow singer Lady Gaga took to the street outside Trump Tower in Manhattan to protest, later tweeting, "In a room full of hope, we will be heard. @deray #blacklivesmatter Stand up for kindness, equality, and love. Nothing will stop us."

Even actor Robert De Niro, who during the election campaign had posted an anti-Trump video saying he wanted to "punch him in the face," was more subdued after the election. "I can't do that now; he's president," De Niro told late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel. "And I have to respect that position. We have to see what he's going to do and how he's really going to follow through on certain things."

Donald Trump (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Reynolds)

His own best messenger

For some artists, the election was an awakening. Describing herself as a "lefty liberal living in New York and California," actress Kyra Sedgwick said she yearned to visit "Trump country" and find "what binds us together." TV actor Andre Royo agreed: "I think we took for granted our perception of our country." French actor Gérard Depardieu saw the election as "a good lesson for politicians who have been doing nothing for a long time," adding, "The confidence has been broken, the people want to take back control." 

Others speculated as to what the new president might mean for the entertainment industry. Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, said that audiences may expect to see more political movies during the Trump Administration, adding - perhaps only partly seriously - "Old white men with hairpieces will take their rightful place as the de facto bad guy in action films. No more pinning ultimate evil on minorities and robots for the time being."

Margaret Atwood (picture-alliance/dpa/D.Calabrese)

A note of encouragement from Margaret Atwood

On a more conciliatory note, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood wrote, "Dear Americans: It will be all right in the long run. (How long? We will see.) You've been through worse, remember."

Get out the vote

Katy Perry and Madonna had both announced they'd go to their polling stations naked. That "get out the vote" strategy points to the fact that in the United States, voter participation is comparatively low. 46.9 percent of eligible voters didn't go to the polls at all. Of those who did, a slight majority of votes went to Hillary Clinton.

"The truth is not enough people showed up and that's what we have to listen to," said comedy TV star Simon Helberg, adding, "I hope that we can squash the violence and the bigotry, and whatever else this has unleashed before it gets out of hand."

Oprah Winfrey (Mike Windle/Getty Images for TWC)

Oprah Winfrey believes the office could change the man

Actor Tom Hanks was sober: "Our president-elect has a big responsibility and much to prove."

And TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, once a strong Trump opponent, even sounded reconciliatory. Citing the awesome and transformative power of the office, she observed after Donald Trump's acceptance speech: "Maybe I'm wrong, but I could sense that brother has been humbled by this whole thing. I think it's a humbling process that now you literally have the weight of the world on your shoulders."


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