Coronavirus

Hillary Hearts Beyonce, Bernie's Not Really Down With DMX & The Weeknd Does Not Feel Donald: The Week in Candidate Pop

Hillary Clinton Talks 'Lemonade' on 'Ellen'=
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with Ellen about Beyonce's Lemonade and more while on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 24, 2016. 

Forget the pundits. How are Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders faring among poptimists? We all know their count in the electoral college… but what about the Berklee College? Are they winning over the key demo of people who make demos?

Welcome to The Week in Candidate Pop, during which several music-related controversies have engulfed the possible future leaders of the free world. Over the last seven days, Democratic hopeful Sanders and presumptive Republican nominee Trump both managed to get embroiled in multiple music brouhahas, whereas Democratic frontrunner Clinton, otherwise caught up in one of the worst weeks of her campaign, managed to deflect attention for 10 seconds to Lemonade love, one of the least problematic positions any pol could possibly take. (Still to be seen: will Clinton’s “She’s With Us” benefit concert at the Greek June 6 with Christina Aguilera have Sanders fans objecting to “Dirrty” politics-as-usual?).

Here, a recap:

Clinton and Beyonce

Amping up the pop-culture girl power to a degree designed to make Bernie Bros’ heads everywhere explode, Ellen DeGeneres passed along a question from Taylor Swift, asking Clinton whether she’d “seen” Beyonce’s Lemonade, presumably meaning the 65-minute video version. The Democratic frontrunner answered, “I have seen parts of it, and I do like it. It is great," immediately leading a dubious blogosphere to question, What did she see and how much did she see of it? Could she provide the committee a full timeline of her viewing, or did she accidentally stumble upon a Vine after typing “Bey” instead of “Ber” into Google News?

Later in the show, though, Clinton redeemed herself, circling back to Beyonce and adding, "I really believe in making lemonade out of lemons” -- clearly, code for “We are sisters with an implicit mutual understanding of what it means to stand by your wayward, all-powerful man on the way to running the world yourself.” Let’s just hope the FBI report doesn’t reveal the actual intent of that private server was to hide emails contending Kelly Rowland was the real talent of Destiny's Child.

(Pop culture delegate change: +2)

Bernie Sanders Did Not Play DMX's 'Where the Hood At'; Video Creator Speaks on 'Social Experiment'

Sanders and DMX

Did Bernie Sanders really pick one of the most famously homophobic and transphobic songs in hip-hop history as his entrance music for a California rally? No, as it turns out. Video of the Senator for Vermont entering a Lancaster rally Wednesday to the tune of DMX’s controversial 2003 track “Where the Hood At” was revealed Saturday to be a "hoax," as some political sites put it... or maybe just an example of creative fan fiction gone wrong. Edwin Acuna, who edited the video, told Billboard that it started as he stood at a Sanders really and started "daydreaming" about what music he'd like to see the candidate come out to, an idea that grew into a "social experiment" where he "faked this video."

If his intention was in any way to help bolster the candidate, it did more harm in the short term, with support from rap fans tempered by dismay from LGBT activists over a tune that seems to proscribe execution for homosexuality. After a couple of days of increasing media attention, Sanders' press secretary pointed to the real video of Sanders' music-free entrance. But not before DMX had expressed his appreciation for the pseudo-usage of his song to Billboard, writing, "When God shows up he shows out." Er, exactly!

(Pop culture delegate change: -5, initially; +0, after corrections)

Sanders and Lukas Nelson

Lukas Nelson -- leader of the band Promise of the Real, member of Neil Young’s backup band, and son of Willie Nelson -- should have been thrilled when Sanders retweeted a link to a new song of his to the candidate’s 2.3 million followers. Instead, Nelson deleted his original tweet within a day, sending all of Sanders’ retweets into the void along with it.

What happened? On May 25, Nelson wrote his followers, “Here is ‘Superdelegate,’ a free song from a band I love called ‘the 99%.’ #FeelTheBern,” followed by a link to the tune, which included the refrain, “Change your mind, superdelegate!” Any audiologist would probably agree that there’s at least a great a chance that “the 99%” is actually Nelson himself, as “John Barron” was Donald Trump. But the reaction was not great.

“One of the worst songs I’ve ever heard,” wrote the political site Mediaite. Gawker called it “why-is-blood-streaming-from-my-ears bad,” urging readers to “listen for yourself to the terror that Bernie Sanders actively chose to bestow upon his millions of Twitter followers” and concluding: “Senator Sanders, no man who makes this sort of judgment call should ever have his finger on the trigger. I’m sorry, but it’s time to step down.” For anyone who wants to make his or her own judgment call, Nelson’s original download link for “Superdelegate” is still active.

(Pop culture delegate change: -1)

Belly Talks Donald Trump, Canceling 'Kimmel' & New Mixtape 'Another Day in Paradise'

Trump and The Weeknd and Belly

When the Weeknd and Belly learned that Donald Trump would be the sole guest besides themselves on late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, they dropped out. The Weeknd didn’t comment, but Belly cited his Muslim heritage as one reason for being uncomfortable being on the show. Later, the rapper told Billboard, “It felt like Trump Night. He was the only guest, and I didn't want to feel like I was like a court jester that night.” 

(Pop culture delegate change: -4)

Trump and Neil Young

In a campaign cycle full of twists and turns, here was Young, who’d previously complained about the Trump campaign’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World," telling Reuters in an interview that he was now okay with it. “He actually got a license to use it," Young said. “I mean, he said he did and I believe him. So I got nothing against him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything." Young seemed to simply be reiterating what a lot of rights experts have said -- that it’s really not up to the musicians themselves whether or not their recordings are played at public events. But the rocker took a lot of flack for the comment, with some fans bringing up his long-ago supportive comments about Ronald Reagan, despite the fact that Young has firmly declared himself a Sanders guy this year. Maybe he’s just secretly hoping that rally attendees will finally notice the song’s complete and utter ironic bitterness.

(Pop culture delegate change: 0)

Trump and Loudon Wainwright III

Veteran singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright, dad to hipster-approved siblings Rufus and Martha Wainwright, released a new acoustic song, “I Had a Dream,” predicting sheer dystopia in the event of a Trump election, and name-checking a cabinet filled with the likes of Cruz, Sessions, Gingrich, Palin, Christie, and “Secretary of Hate” Rush Limbaugh. “Just like he promised, he built that wall/Blew up Cuba and carpet-bombed Montreal,” Wainwright sings, adding: “His little finger on the button, he was doing his thing/Our new national anthem was 'My Ding-a-Ling.'” Amusing as they are, Chuck Berry references may be a little dated, and Wainwright might be too obscure to elicit a “terrible!” hate-tweet from the presumptive GOP pick.

(Pop culture delegate change: -1)

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.