Just hours after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, without proper permission, President Trump played Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” at a rally. The singer is not impressed.
The New York Daily News reported that Williams’ lawyer filed a cease and desist letter against Trump on Monday.
“On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist,’ you played his song ‘Happy’ to a crowd at a political event in Indiana,” reads the letter obtained by by the NY Daily News.
“There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”
Pharrell also reminded the president that he is not permitted to play any of his music without his permission. Also known as “law and order” for the finicky in the room.
In case Trump is clueless, Pharrell is not a fan. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the news or who’s running my country but it’s a real fucking shit show,” Pharrell said in 2017, while introducing a new record by the alt-rap band N.E.R.D that he fronts. “I’ve never seen such desperation in my life.”
This is what Donald Trump does. He takes other people’s art, events, buildings, movements, anything he can get his greedy hands on, and he co-opts it for himself, just like he’s doing today in Pittsburgh. Trump should never use a musician’s music without asking, especially because his message is so divisive and ugly. By doing so, he potentially damages their brand and destroys the intended meaning of their art.
There is nothing “Happy” about Donald Trump, so the song doesn’t fit his dark, angry, fear-inducing brand but also, he should never have played that song on the day of the biggest massacre of Jewish people on our soil. If Obama had done this, the Right would be mid-revolution, tea bags flying.
Trump seems to think he’s above the law and can steal from artists and others on a whim. This is theft, and for all of the right wingers who will dismiss this, you are free to offer up your best investments to the president to steal, like maybe your entire retirement portfolio, if you think theft is no biggie when Trump does it.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.