Village People, the American disco group behind the hits "YMCA," "Macho Man" and "In the Navy," has given the go-ahead for President Donald Trump to plays its songs at events, despite being "inundated" with requests from fans urging the band to block the president's use of the music.
"We have received numerous requests demanding that we prevent or ban President Donald Trump’s use of our songs, particularly 'YMCA' and 'Macho Man,'" the group said in a statement posted to Facebook Monday. "Since our music is not being used for a specific endorsement, the President’s use is 'perfect[ly]' legal."
Trump most recently played Village People's 1978 track "Macho Man," a song that is widely considered a gay anthem, as he entered a rally in Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. He has been playing the song at rallies since at least 2018.
Some noted the irony of Trump entering to "Macho Man," given his administration's track record on LGBTQ rights and the fact that Village People is rooted in gay culture (the group's name refers to New York City's Greenwich Village, which was known for its large gay population during its formation).
Several policy measures criticized as anti-LGBTQ have either been proposed or enacted under the Trump administration, including the president’s contentious transgender military policy, which bars transgender personnel from serving openly and denies them access to gender-affirming medical care, and the administration's proposed rule to expand the exemption that allows religiously affiliated businesses to ignore anti-discrimination laws. A third of the more than 50 circuit court judges nominated by Trump since he took office nearly three years ago have a “demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ bias,” according to a recent report from LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal.
"I do relish the fact that in India, Trump appeared to the Village People doing Macho Man," one person tweeted. "Because, y'know, he's such a gay icon."
Village People, however, maintains that Trump has "remained respectful" in his use of its songs and "has not crossed a line" or suggested that the group endorses him.
"Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the YMCA dance, regardless of their political affiliation," the group wrote. "Having said that, we certainly don't endorse his use as we'd prefer our music be kept out of politics."
The disco group's decision marks a deviation from that of other artists, including R.E.M., Aerosmith, Queen, Adele and Rihanna, who have demanded that the president not play their music at rallies.
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