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.
I never thought I’d be listening to “Macho Macho man” in Gujarat, let alone with a crowd of 120,000 people anywhere in this world. But this was the song that Trump walked out to, for Namaste Trump #modi#namastetrump
— Maria Abi-Habib (@Abihabib) February 24, 2020
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. Because, y'know, he's such a gay icon.
— Chris Nickson (@ChrisNickson2) February 24, 2020
"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."
Trump enters India’s rally to the song Macho, macho man by the Village People? Don’t they know it’s a gay song???? And what happened to the 7 million people he said would welcome him in the streets?
— Lula Rodriguez (@Lananalula) February 24, 2020
I find it amusing beyond description that trump entered the stadium in India to the song Macho Man blaring from the sound system. The very stable genius doesn't realize the song is a gay anthem. With his obvious disregard for gay rights, it's another sign of his ignorance.
— They call me Belle (@carlabelle73) February 25, 2020
Yuppers. I guess trump doesn't realize the Village People were a campy gay group giving a winkie to those in the know. Hello! YMCA, In the Navy, Macho Man. Too funny.
— 🌠💥 Toonces Resists 🌠💥 (@Toonces_Resists) February 24, 2020
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.