Rihanna Is Not the First Musician to Tell Trump: Stop Using My Music

November 6, 2018, 5:38 PM UTC

On Monday, Rihanna sent a cease-and-desist letter to President Trump after one of her songs was played at his rally in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sunday.

Rihanna found out that Trump had played “Don’t Stop the Music” at the Sunday rally after Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker tweeted about it. The artist responded on Monday, writing, “Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip!”

After her tweet, Rihanna’s legal team reportedly wrote a letter to Trump’s White House counsel, saying, “As you are or should be aware, Ms. Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper.”

But Rihanna is far from the first artist to call for the president to stop using their music.

Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses tweeted on Sunday that his band, “like a lot of artists opposed to the unauthorized use of their music at political events has formally requested r music not b used at Trump rallies or Trump associated events.” However, due to “loopholes in the various venues’ blanket performance licenses” the campaign has continued using their music without the band’s consent, Rose added.

Last week, Pharrell Williams similarly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trump after the President played the song “Happy” at a rally just hours after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Pharrell’s lawyer wrote, “There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”

But many musicians began their requests to Trump before he was even elected.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe had choice words for Trump back in 2015 after he used one of their songs at a rally.

Like Guns N’ Roses, the Rolling Stones expressed frustration in 2016 with their inability to stop Trump from using their music. Adele and Neil Young asked Trump to stop using their music at his campaign rallies and Queen succeeded in banning Trump from using their songs.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith asked Trump to stop using his songs during rallies for the third time in August, while members of Prince’s estate told Trump to stop playing his music during rallies in mid-October. Other artists, including Elton John, one-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and the O’Jays have also have expressed that they don’t support Trump using their music.

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