Prophets of Rage: 3 Things You Can Do to Resist

Chuck D & Tom Morello
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Chuck D & Tom Morello of Prophets of Rage perform at The Agora Theatre during the RNC on July 19, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

“The world ain’t going to fix itself,” says Chuck D of Prophets of Rage, the supergroup (with members of Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill) whose self-titled debut is out Sept. 15. With bandmate Tom Morello, he offers this path to political action.

1. "Homeland Security has pretty much endorsed fear to keep people in one place,” says Chuck D. “Get a damn passport” and travel. "I'm always in a world state of mind," he explains. "It would be short-sighted and naive to try to come from the U.S. and think of myself as from any one territory. I call myself a culturalist." Touring in South America recently with Prophets of Rage, he realized, "the attitude [towards the U.S. from outside the U.S.] was, 'What's going on?' [Some Americans] arrogantly think they're cut off from everyone else in the world. We as musicians have a license to bring a logic that governments are not bringing." 

2. Read and watch the opposition. “Don’t just pick a news channel that confirms your prejudices,” says Morello, a former senator’s aide. A self-professed native of "Trump country: small-town Illinois," Morello has seen firsthand how people from both sides of the political aisle were tempted to vote for our president. "The way that news is presented is a window into how the world really works," he says. "I read everything from the New York Times to Fox News to the Guardian to the Intercept — it really helps me understand the tectonic plates that move our society, the forces that are engaged in trying to shape and control the world."

3. "Garbage on the lawn doesn’t walk itself to the trash,” says Chuck D. Organize with like-minded people: “You can think globally but act locally.” In every city Prophets of Rage travels to, the band finds a local organization to work with, like the Los Angeles Community Action Network. "You hope these giant cities will shine light on smaller models in different parts of the country doing their best to challenge their state," he says. "We want to leave a social justice imprint everywhere we play," Morello adds, noting that merely showing up for a concert can have an impact. "Millions showed up for the Women's March; keep showing up whenever and wherever you can, to make your voice heard. Alone our voices can be drowned out easily, but together we can shake the halls of power." 

This story originally appeared in the September 2 issue of Billboard.