The Village People have had enough.
Back in February, the Donald Trump campaign team started playing The Village People’s “In The Navy,” “Y.M.C.A.,” and “Macho Man” at campaign events. The band, which was popular in the 1970s and ‘80s, later released a statement saying that “everyone is entitled to do the YMCA dance, regardless of their political affiliation.”
“Since our music is not being used for a specific endorsement, the President’s use is “perfect[ly]” legal,” the statement reasoned. “He has remained respectful in his use of our songs and has not crossed the line; if he or any other candidate were to use any of our songs in a manner that would suggest our endorsement, or in a promotional advertisement, that would cross the line.”
But now, it seems that The Village People have changed their minds. Victor Willis, the band’s lead singer, stated that he wants the Trump campaign to stop using the band’s music.
“If Trump orders the U.S. military to fire on his own citizens (on U.S. soil), Americans will rise up in such numbers outside of the White House that he might be forced out of office prior to the election,” Willis wrote publicly on his Facebook profile. “And I ask that you no longer use any of my music at your rallies especially ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and ‘Macho Man.’ Sorry, but I can’t support what you’re proposing.”
The band has certainly had a whirlwind of a year. First, they gave their consent for Trump to play their music at his events and live streams. That led to some pushback and criticism from fans and the LGBTQ community. Then in March, the Village People were honored with an induction into the Library of Congress. The song “Y.M.C.A.” specifically was added to the National Recording Registry on May 25 due to it being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
“I had no idea when we wrote ‘Y.M.C.A.’ that it would become one of the most iconic songs in the world, and a fixture at almost every wedding, birthday party, bar mitzvah and sporting event,” Willis said during a congratulatory statement.
And now that the band has asked that Trump stop playing their music for his campaign, perhaps that history will be preserved.