Isa Foltin/Getty ImagesJoan Baez has some words of wisdom for those taking to the streets to protest current political conditions.
The 76-year-old folk music legend and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was one of the symbols of protest and activism in the 1960s, stemming from her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war demonstrations.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Baez says she detects a lot of new energy in the current protest movement. Regarding her participation in the San Francisco branch of the recent Women’s March, Baez notes, “I was struck by how many really young people (attended),” adding, “It’s courtesy of Trump and his antics that people realize what we’re up against, and it’s pushed them into a new place.”
Of course, music was an important component of sixties activism. Baez admits, “There’s not enough right now. There needs to be more. It’s terribly important, because that’s what keeps the spirit. Carping and shouting, as much as it gets stuff off your chest in front of 100,000, you really need something uplifting. That’s hard to do in a speech if you’re angry.”
Baez says Josh Ritter has penned what she thinks could become a protest “anthem,” explaining, “As soon as we piece it together, I’m going to try it out on the crowd — it’s called ‘I Carry the Flame.’ All I have to do is get Josh to rewrite the verses so it’ll be simpler.”
When it comes to advice Baez has for today’s activists, she keeps it simple: “I’d just say keep your eyes on the prize,” before adding, “In a total lack of empathy on the other side, we need to make up for that, double-time, (with) our own empathy. That’s the only way we’re going to make it through…And courage. Courage is contagious.”
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