April 29th marks Donald Trump's first 100 days in office as the President of the United States. This stretch has seen attempted Muslim bans, threats to defund the National Endowment for the Arts, a failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act and more. We asked several stars what keeps them motivated and inspired in this tough political climate. Here are their answers.
"Whenever I see people doing great work, and there are people doing great work everywhere all the time, just that they're surviving and doing the work is cause for hope. There are people trying to point to truths to things that are going on."
"When he first got -- well, he didn't actually get elected, Hillary got elected by 3 million votes -- but when the electoral college confirmed him, I was like "what's the point anymore?" What is the point of pop music when me and all my minority friends might be in concentration camps in a couple years. I know that's a dramatic thing to say, but that is what I was feeling. Slowly I realized that it only inspired me more to keep going, because as a proud, queer person; as a proud femme person; as a proud feminist, it's even more important that I continue to have success so that some kids can see that this is possible for queer people to thrive in this insane world that we live in."
"As traumatic as it's been having a maniac in the White House and as scary that feels and with the possibility of war being realer than it's ever been in my lifetime (I mean it's probably been worse, but you know what I mean), it's actually I think really good for art. Seeing people take to the streets and speak their minds, in hundreds and thousands, is something that I never witnessed. It is inspiring. It's motivating to know that everyone's ready to speak their mind, and people aren't just going to sit idly by and let shit happen. I mean especially in some of this movement has been a really beautiful, inspiring thing for me. Seeing women come together and let their voices be heard in a way that I've never gotten to see in my lifetime. My mother always talked about feminism in the '60s and '70s, and what they had to fight for. I always kind of felt left out like "oh we've come so far," but we really haven't. So, it's incredible to see women come together and having their voices heard. It's really inspiring for me and it's actually inspired many songs just in the past six months."
Robert De Niro
"I think that our country with all our checks and balances can keep people like Mr. Trump in check. Though he's picked a few good people, and they can keep him in check. We’re gonna see what happens."
"I don’t really get political, to be honest, at least with this kind of stuff. I just hope for the best [laughs]. It gets so discouraging — there’s just so much negativity out there and the country is so polarized that I just try to focus on putting positive music out there to do my part to make it a little better…a little sliver. Everybody just has to do their part to contribute some sort of positivity to the world, because there’s a lot of darkness and a lot of negativity, especially nowadays. I hope for the best, I know a lot of people are just outraged and really worried about America and where we’re going, but I think you just have to try to stay as positive as you can. Everybody is so alarmist nowadays where it’s like, the world didn’t end [laughs]. Everybody is so extreme, and to be honest, who knows what’s really going on — we’re only fed a certain amount of information, so it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on. Plus, I’ve watched too many Netflix documentaries on conspiracy theories, I don’t know who’s running things [laughs]."
Cakes Da Killa
"I think some the lowest points of my day is logging onto Facebook and seeing videos of unarmed men being murdered by police, transwomen being cut down for entertainment and even worst a serial killer going live like it's a video game. The world has been fucked up, I just feel like my generation is just so desensitized we don't even know where to begin to deal with it. What keeps me motivated is the fact that I don't have a choice. I have to move forward and hope for the best because if I don't I'll break in half."
"I appreciate politics being almost like a ritualistic kind of game. The thing that moves me forward is I'm more and more interested in our environmental issues and I feel that's what my personal focus is on at this point. I become obsessed with, or disturbed by, shortsightedness in politics, or politics for the sake of politics. I think humanity is the most important thing we've got and the environment is precious, and we have to fight for it."
"You know, right about now is like 1968, '69 -- the Vietnam war and shit. That always inspires you, when bullshit is going down like that. Right now, that's what's happening with the whole Trump thing. It makes you want to create music to get another vibe going."
"I’m a sax player, I’m motivated to practice and I practice every day. Not much has really changed for me, to be honest with you — i just still want to become a better musician and do the best music. I’m always inspired, nothing gets me uninspired. With the way the world goes, I think the best thing I can do is keep putting good music in the world. If I decided to get depressed and decided not to make music because I’m so depressed about the way things are, I’m not helping anybody."
"I mean, I think music’s the most important thing we have. I think music brings people together. I think music heals you. I think you can get lost in music. It’s the one thing that is a common thread. I don’t care what your political views [are] or anything, but music will bring people together. I believe that. Whether they know it or not. Y’know, it would be interesting to poll two sides of opinion about politics, or whatever is going on in the world -- but then get their list of [favorite] songs and artists. I bet they would be very similar."
"It is the political climate itself that keeps me inspired and motivated because it’s in these times where you have people feeling like there’s one person or one group of people whose voice is being heard and the majority of people’s voice is not being heard that I feel like people kind of come together and become even more creative and kind of forget those petty differences that they have and kind of come together to create some beautiful things. I think it’s good for the U.S., I think it’s good for the world for just life in general to continue to evolve and change so that people can continue to grow and evolve. Otherwise, we’ll stay stagnant and you can become weak by getting too comfortable with one position. You gotta challenge yourself to not only survive but to live."
"Well, I was lucky enough to meet a young man last year named Skip Marley. And he lit a fire in my ass as far as -- I think it’s our duty as artists and creators and however anyone sees themselves, to push culture. To create art that speaks to truth and unity. And I was lucky enough to executive produce and be a part of the Skip Marley stuff that’s coming out. And it’s all about that. So I felt like that was important to me, because I’m very political -- my Twitter feed is basically an anti-Trump [marathon] -- but for me, that’s what kept me sane. That I was able, in my position, to help an artist like Skip Marley -- and I’ve told everyone at the label that, and they believe as well, that in our positions, that’s one of the things we can do. We can donate as much money as we want, we can do whatever we want, but if we can get someone like that, or help artists that have a voice and a point of view of unity and love and acceptance… I think we’re at a time where artists are the voice of the people, like it was in the ‘60s. I think we’re very close to that time, and I think we can help move that along, and push radio to play those songs and that kind of stuff."
Ray Parker Jr.
"First of all, over half the people in the country voted for Trump, so that makes him our president. I don’t know why everybody's upset [laughs]. We invented this system of voting for our president, so I think we all have to support the president, at this point. I see all this stuff where people are divided and I think the division is worse than anything else. So unless they want to change the system and have a king or a queen or something, we voted and everybody should go with what we voted. It’s as simple as that."
"What keeps me motivated? What keeps me motivated is knowing that there is a possibility to make it, to do better. There is another side to the music, you know? There's fans and people who want to hear it and need to hear it. That's what keeps me driven. If I was gonna sit and bite my nails all day over what's happening politically I'd never get anything done, no one would. It's like put your big girl pants on and get shit done because there's always a bigger picture. I can't stop until I get wherever God is taking me. I can't let the woes of the world become my woe. You have to find your positivity in your life and stay on that path and you gotta, it's for the fans and it's for the people who need to hear this. That's what keeps me going. I couldn't stop if I tried. I don't care who's in office."