Since the disco era of the 70s, the Village People have been a mainstay on dance floors, in arenas, and virtually every other gathering.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn't know the YMCA dance or the chorus to Macho Man.
Even President Donald Trump has used their songs in his rallies—most recently on his visit to India, where over 100,000 people watched the President enter to Macho Man, much to the glee of his supporters.
.@curtisandjuliet @JulietHuddyTV India plays "Macho Man" by Village People as Trump enters Sardar Patel Stadium in… https://t.co/izoPnEn11j— Mike Mc (@Mike Mc)1582555286.0
Though enjoyed by everyone today, the Village People share a particularly special relationship with their LGBTQ fans. The band made its career by marketing to gay men with unapologetic homoeroticism and panache. Even the song YMCA was implicitly understood by fans at the time of its release to be about cruising for gay sex in a sauna (YMCAs were popular cruising grounds for decades until the 1980s).
So it's easy to understand why fans were disappointed when, after they asked the band to discourage Trump from using their music at his rallies, the Village People responded with this Facebook post.[facebook https://www.facebook.com/RealVillagePeople/posts/1386463228220950?__xts__=68.ARCWyGKTDkxgs3biwldPU_AT0ONsqCs3OhA0-q4bOZFcDixEfe92NcP7BvvFES6wXP0TKzoGt5ohpVlISnevUBPWv0KilSwnw4kRIIMQbFKSh9Cck8nfqSYv8E3HqMiJwxJehJJI4IwX3LdaWFU45VKQlOQv9TldLGnprSzxbJpvIxDo8m35fVe1gexrNj-hHGF2NYeWohwB5lJ9elftftYg4ILK-RRPbQK_RmVBtaYL_b3U9_UN49sUjYPR5a_8tg1brY7HKQ8XWDlhlLEaoygzOIsdqAWrE4RM6rDJ4YjXB2CVLN5Pz0xmaoFGzoU4kfeM4DuNlb_bjSBKZqVwmTk8zw&__tn__=-R expand=1]
The band said they wouldn't discourage Trump from using his songs at their rallies, because he wasn't using the song as an endorsement.
Some fans, however, disagreed.
In most cases— as the Rolling Stones learned—Trump rallies are open to the public, so there isn't a legal foothold for an artist to forbid him from simply playing music at a public event.
That hasn't stopped artists like Rihanna, Axl Rose, R.E.M., and Prince's estate from publicly condemning the use of their music at Trump's rallies.
People were intrigued at why such an anti-LGBTQ administration and its supporters were such fans of the Village People.
It's something that's confounded people since long before Trump's rally in India
@Acosta Nobody else finds this hilarious that a bunch of homophobic trump supporters are doing the YMCA hands, a so… https://t.co/WGvujAPSv5— WTFGOP? #BlueNoMatterWho (@WTFGOP? #BlueNoMatterWho)1538432491.0
ymca is literally a song about going to the gym to meet other gay men like ?? trump supporters do yall wanna share… https://t.co/onJwZ2Zv4J— cori ⚢ (@cori ⚢)1580259018.0
@DrIanHall lulz. I like how (probably) homophobic Trump supporters happily sing the Village People's YMCA, despit… https://t.co/ezRbSyAk8C— Tom Conley (@Tom Conley)1577582341.0
One devout Spotify user compiled a playlist of songs whose artists condemned Trump for playing their music at his rallies. You can listen to Hard Pass, Mr. President below.
Sadly, the Village People won't be on it.