On International Woman's Day, Puerto Rican singer Taína Asili dropped her latest single, “No Es Mi Presidente," a track about marginalized communities surviving under Donald Trump's presidency.
The song, and its video, gets real about immigration, mass incarceration, environmental injustice and violence against women.
“The movements that are represented in the video are perfect examples of what intersectional organizing looks like, and why it is powerful,” she told us.
Asili, who performed the tune at the Women’s March on Washington, spoke with us about “No Es Mi Presidente," why she released it during Women’s History Month and why the movement for gender justice must be intersectional.
What prompted you to write this song?
I was inspired to write this song after performing at The Women’s March on Washington. When Donald Trump was elected, I knew that what was happening was only a continuation of long-standing and deeply entrenched problems in our nation. Even still, leading up to and during the inauguration of Trump, I carried a heavy weight of anger, sadness and fear in my heart for what was to come in this country. When I arrived at the Women’s March the day after the inauguration, however, my heart was lifted as I witnessed a sea of almost a million people, mostly women, standing together in solidarity. And I knew that we were joined by even more people across the nation and the world. I was reminded that we are not alone in this struggle against Trumpism. I was reminded that he is only a symptom of the systems of oppression that we have been fighting against for centuries. And with that, we have been given a profound legacy of resistance, with tools and strategies to guide us as we continue this work. I wanted to write a song that not only expressed our rejection of Trumpism, but also reminds us of what we already have within our grasp to resist it. The music video symbolizes the smashing and clearing out of these systems of oppression – white supremacy, patriarchy and the desecration of our earth – in order to make way for new and creative possibilities in the form of activism and cultural reclamation and celebration.
Why release it on “A Day Without A Woman?"
I felt it was important to release this video on International Women’s Day in solidarity with the “A Day Without A Woman” and the “International Women’s Strike” because as a queer Latina mother, musician and activist, I know too well the threat we face to our health, our jobs and our existence as women and gender non-conforming people, particularly within our current political climate. I offer this song in solidarity with all those who are taking this day to fight for gender justice.
What message do you hope it sends to the women participating in the strike?
I hope that this song and video offers us energy for the work ahead and I hope that it reminds us that we have strategies within our grasp to face what is happening and what is to come. We have powerful teachers to remind us of our history, like feminist activists Naomi Jaffe and Barbara Smith, who are featured in the video. I hope the self-defense scenes remind us that we have the power to protect our bodies. I hope the civil disobedience scenes remind us of our grassroots collective strength. And I hope that the cultural celebration and prayer scenes remind us that our ancestors have our back in this work.
“No Es Mi Presidente" touches on various issues, including Black Lives Matter, immigration, Standing Rock and violence against women. How do you think the women's movement is stronger when it is intersectional?
Our movement for gender justice must be intersectional. Those of us who stand at the crossroads of identities and of oppressions must be able to bring our whole selves to this work. The movements that are represented in the video are perfect examples of what intersectional organizing looks like, and why it is powerful. For example, Black Lives Matter was started by Black queer women, who initiated intersectional organizing from the beginning, recognizing that not only do Black cis-men’s lives matter, but that Black queer women and trans lives also matter. The water protectors at Standing Rock, also led by many women, worked at the intersection of the struggle for native rights and the protection of our earth. Their work recognized that people of color become the first to suffer at the hands of corporate environmental destruction, and people of color, especially native people, are the first to resist it. And in the case of violence against women, we know that we become more of a target of violence when we are also women of color, and/or trans, and/or disabled, and/or undocumented. So the feminist work we continue must be intersectional in order for it to be powerful and effective.
Why was it important for you to make the song bilingual?
Latinx people in this country are particularly targeted by the Trump administration, especially those that are undocumented. As a U.S.-born Puerto Rican woman, I felt it was important to use both languages that I was raised with to sing this song of resistance in order to reach as many of us as possible. By singing the chorus, “No Es Mi Presidente,” in Spanish, it is an emphasis on the rejection of the white supremacist ideologies of this administration, while simultaneously celebrating our power as Latinx people.
Watch the video for “No Es Mi Presidente” above.