Ed. note: As long as humans have been making music, it’s been used as a form of protest. As part of KQED Arts’ 100 Days project, documenting artists’ responses to our new administration in its earliest days, I’ve asked Bay Area musicians to get in touch with songs they’ve written or recorded that serve as reactions to our current political climate. Over the next couple months, I’ll be highlighting the most compelling entries I receive, along with a few words from the artist about their inspirations and intentions.
Robin DuPont, “He Will Not Divide Us”
“Usually it takes me hours, sometimes days, and on occasion months to write a song,” says Robin DuPont, a 20-year-old rapper living in Hayward, of his track — the lyrics of which take Pres. Trump to task for how his proposed policies will affect immigrants and people of color. “[This time] I felt so angry and disappointed … I had so much bottled up about this election and the person the American people voted for that I wrote my verse in less than five minutes.”
DuPont is a first-generation American. He was born in Southern California to parents who had immigrated from Mexico, were undocumented, and lived in fear of deportation — a fear that came to fruition in 2012, when DuPont’s father was ordered to leave the U.S. with 30 days notice. The musician was 15.
“He lost everything he ever worked for,” says DuPont. His father was granted permission to return to the U.S. and build a legal case to stay in 2015. “Although he was gone for under four years, they were very hard years,” he says. “I had to do a lot of growing up very quickly. That’s why the recent spike in ICE raids and deportations is heartbreaking because I know the feeling. It’s a terrible one. ”
DuPont wrote “He Will Not Divide Us” on Inauguration Day, after scrolling through Twitter and reading about actor Shia LaBoeuf’s New York livestream/protest with the same name. While the rapper says he finds our current political situation “terrifying,” he’s also taking the opportunity to consider his own role, and that of artists in general, when it comes to fighting back.
“I feel like the influence musicians and artists have is often incredibly underestimated,” he says. “Within these next four years, I plan to release a lot more music centered around the social injustices we’re facing and my own personal experiences and opinions.”
“I can’t cover everything he’s done or plans to do, but I can definitely cover what means most to me: every one of Trump’s plans regarding immigrants. I don’t want my or any family to live in fear of potentially being deported or losing everything they’ve worked so hard for.”
Robin DuPont’s debut EP ‘Emancipation From Fear’ comes out on March 24.