Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post showcases a video of June 3, 2017 "March For Truth" marches in New York City and in Chicago, Illinois as a means of documenting the unison chants and the call & response chants that were said at these marches.
Some editorial comments about these marches and about these chants are also included in this post.
The content of this post is presented for socio-political and folkloric purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who marched for the truth. Thanks also to all who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series about protest chants.
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/01/protest-chants-from-womens-march-on.html for a pancocojams post on "Protest Chants From The Women's March On Washington & From Sister Marches (January 21, 2017)".
Click the "protest chants" tag for other posts in this series and compare the examples of protest chants in those posts with the examples of protest chants in this post.
PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTES
Why this blog includes posts on protest chants
Pancocojams is a blog that focuses on examples of African American culture and examples of other Black cultures throughout the world. Some people may therefore ask why this blog includes posts on protest chants, particularly when there appears to be very few Black people or other people of color at the protest marches that are shown in video tapes which are embedded in this blog's posts.
My interest in protest chants began with a focus on documenting the types of chants that African Americans used in the 1960s and the chants that African Americans use now. However, my interest has expanded to include the documentation of other examples of protest chants, particularly in the United States, regardless of the race or ethnicity of those people using those chants.
Part of my interest in documenting protest chants is to note how the words to chants that were used by African Americans (and others) in the 1960s might be used now. But as a self-identified community folklorist, I also am interested in documenting the chants as folkloric artifacts.
If you know other examples of chants that were used in June 3, 2017 "March for Truth" marches, please add them in the comment section below along with demographic information (city/state) and information about the type of chant (i.e. "unison" or "call & response"). Thanks!
Why these two videos are showcased
These two videos were selected from a much smaller "pool" of possible videos than I had expected. I was most interested in videos of June 3, 2017 Marc For Truth marches and not rallies, but the few videos that were published were mostly of rallies. Other March For Truth videos either focused on protesters' signs or were very brief. I finally selecting that New York City video and that Chicago video even though more than half of that video featured a rally.
The visual quality of the two videos that are showcased in this post aren't that good. However, I'm most interested in the audio than in the visual aspects of these videos.
General comments about the two showcase videos
The New York City video only showed a small segment of the marchers. The Chicago video seemed to show a larger cross section of the marchers, including people who were marching in the beginning of that procession. It seemed to me that all the marchers who were shown in both of these videos were White- with the exception of one Black male drummer in the Chicago video.
The marchers who were shown in the New York video were young adults, middle aged, and older- including one elderly female marcher who was holding a walker in front of her. The marchers who were shown in the Chicago group appeared to be younger as a whole than the New York City marchers. That Chicago video showed a few children in that march and at least one woman was shown pushing a baby stroller.
In the New York video some drummers could be heard. In the Chicago video, a cadre of about three drummers were close to the front of the protest march along with a number of people carrying large American flags and one rainbow colored gay pride flag. All of those drummers were young adult men and one of the drummers (who appeared to be White) played a two headed West African drum that I think was a "sangban".
All of my following comments refer to both of these featured videos:
As is standard for American protest marches, people participating in those marches actually "walked" -not "marched" in the middle of the street. Note the difference between this type of movement and the "toyi toyi" dance like movement used by Black South Africans at their protest marches https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/01/toyi-toyi-south-african-protest-dance.html
Some marchers hold hand made signs and a few held small American flags. I saw no commercially made signs in either of these videos. Most of the signs were head in the marchers hands, and weren't mounted on sticks.
Most of the chants were repeated throughout the video. Chants used by one group of marchers often overlapped chants used by another group of marchers. It appeared that the chants weren't planned or even that [all of] the chant callers weren't chosen ahead of time. Rather, a person with a loud voice started whatever chant that he or she wanted to, and the group around that person joined in that chant for how ever long the chant "lived". At times, some marchers clapped their hands in accompaniment while they chanted. And sometimes, when a chant ended, the marchers who had been chanting would stand in place, and some of them clapped (for themselves), yelled "Whoo!" and/or blew whistles, or otherwise made celebratory sounds.
Most of the chants were demanding or declarative chants (in favor of something) rather than actually protesting a particular issue, law, event, or position. An example of a demanding/declarative chant is "Tell me what democracy looks like/This is what democracy looks like". Another example of a demanding/declarative chant is "Stand up!/Fight Back!". That said, a declarative chant such as ""Say it loud/Say it clear/Immigrants are welcome here." might also be considered a protest chant in that you are declaring your opposition to something [such as Trump's travel ban].
An example of a protest chant is "Hey He Ho Ho/Donald Trump has got to go". Another example of a protest chant is "No Trump/No KKK/No Fascist USA".
The term "celebratory" that I used earlier is an apt description of how these marches appeared to me. Both of these protest marches- but particularly the Chicago march- reminded me a lot of parades. My sense was that even though the participants seemed determined and committed to their cause/s, they also were much more celebratory than civil rights t protesters usually were or than the South African protesters were whose videos that I referred to earlier. Participants in these two March For Truth videos-and in the January 2017 Women's Marches throughout the United States- don't appear to be concerned or anxious about the possibility of arrests or physical consequences from the police-(who were present at those two March For Truth protest marches almost in what appeared to be an escort role). Nor do the participants in the March 3, 2017 protest marches appear to be concerned about the possibility of retaliation from any onlookers. And that's a good thing.
Example #1: March For Truth front of Manhattan
Trending Live, Published on Jun 3, 2017 [38.40 minutes long]
These chants are given in the order of their appearance in the video, with time stamps given to the first time that the chant is used and perhaps some other times that it is chanted. The type of chant (unison or call & response and the time the chant appears in the video are given in brackets. My comments about the chant are given in italics.
I've numbered these chants for referencing purposes only.
1. unison chant-[begins around .051 in the video]
Donald Trump has got to go"
Another form of this "Hey Hey Ho Ho" chant was used around 19:18 in this video.
"Hey hey ho ho treason lies have got to go."
2. [call & response chant begins around 1:46]
Call: "[indecipherable] are under attack, what do you do?"
Response - "Stand up. Fight back"
This pattern repeats several times with the first part indecipherable. I think one of the calls is
Call -“When the constitution is under attack what do we do?
Response: "Stand up. Fight back."
This line is heard much clearer
When our LGBTQ folks attending a concert are under attack, what do we do?
Response: Stand up. Fight back"
This chant was used other times in this video. Other examples of this chant were:
[around 7:56 in the video]
Call - "When democracy is under attack what do we do?"
Response - "Stand Up, Fight back".
[another form of this chant that begins around 8:19]
Call - "What do we do when we’re under attack?"
Response- "Stand up fight back."
3. [unison chant, begins around 4:23]
"The people united will never be defeated."
4. [unison chant begins around 5:41]
"What’s the truth? We want the truth. We want the truth."
one person chants this, but the chant doesn't "take", i.e. no one else chants along and the person who began the chant stops chanting..
5. [call & response chant, begins around 6:08]
Call- "Tell me what democracy looks like."
Response- "This is what democracy looks like."
repeat these words several times and then change the words to something else such as those below
Call- "Show me what America looks like"
Response "This is what America looks like"
Call - "Show me what New York City looks like"*
Response- "This is what New York City looks like".*
Later in the video, someone figured out that "New York City" was too many words to maintain the beat, and so that was changed to "New York", which works much better.
6. [call & response chant, begins around 6:36]
Response- "Our democracy"
7. [call & response chant, begins around 7:15}
Call- "Whose planet?"
Response - "Our planet"
8. [unison chant, 9:01]
"Truth. Not lies"
9. [call & response chant, around 10:10]
Call- 'We want the truth."
Response- "Show us the truth."
The second line was also given in this video as "Tell us the truth".
10. [call & response, 16:00 in this video]
Call - "Stand up!"
Response- "Fight Back!"
This form of the "Fight back" chant appeared to me to be the most often used chant in this video. Note its other form that is given as #2 above.
11. [unison chant, around 20:00 unison chant
"Resist! Resist! Resist!"
12. [unison chant, around 20:53]
"Say it loud
Say it clear
Immigrants are welcome here."
These words was repeated several times, then that group of marchers chanted
"Say it loud.
Say it clear
Muslims are welcome here."
13. unison chant, around 26:13]
"USA! USA! USA!"
14. [unison chant, around 26:35]
"We will not go away
Welcome to your everyday."
15. unison chant, 34:40
Immigrants are welcome here"
Example #2: Anti-Donald Trump protesters gather for a "March for Truth" rally in Chicago
Mrs Ann Published on Jun 3, 2017
The actual march begins around 39:11 in this video.
These chants are given in the order of their appearance in the video, with time stamps given to the first time that the chant is used. The type of chant (unison or call & response and the time the chant appears in the video are given in brackets. My comments about the chant are given in italics.
I've numbered these chants for referencing purposes only.
1. [unison chant around 39:13 in this video]
"No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA
As part of this chant was indecipherable to me, I googled "no trump no kkk chant" to find out the missing word or words to this chant. Here's what I found:
"‘No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!’ – the punk chant that soundtracks the protests
A 1980s protest against racism in Texas has been brought back to life – and on to the streets – with help from Green Day
Tuesday 31 January 2017 08.31 EST Last modified on Friday 19 May 2017 09.49 EDT
There were many chants at the anti-Trump demonstration outside Downing Street on Monday night, but one was particularly satisfying. It has a bracing staccato energy, like a weaponised cheerleader chant, and it has already been heard at protests across the US: “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” Try it. It feels good.
The chant’s popularity took off at the American Music awards last November, 12 days after the US election. Midway through a furious performance of their single Bang Bang, the politically minded band Green Day broke the song down to a tense dirge and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong barked the chant six times. “We didn’t rehearse it,” he said later. “We’re just as much in shock as everybody else is about this.” He also clarified that the chant originated more than 30 years earlier with the band MDC."
-end of quote-
2. [unison chant, around 44:31]
Donald Trump has got to go"
This chant was repeated at 46.37.
3. [call & response chant, 45:23]
Call - "Tell me what democracy looks like"
Response - "This is what democracy looks like"
These words were chanted for some time without any other "verses".
4. [call and response] Sorry I didn't write down the time for this chant
Caller – "What do we want?"
Response- Truth !
Caller – When do we want it?
Response – Now!"
This chant has the same pattern as the 1960s civil rights chant "What do we want?/ Freedom!/When do we want it?/ Now!"
5. [unison chant] Sorry I didn't write down the time for this chant
"Hands too small
Can’t build the wall"
Hands too small" refers to Donald Trump."
Some chanters clapped along with this chant.
6. [call & response chant, around 54:36]
Call – a man’s voice "Her body. Her choice."
Response – "Her body. Her choice."
This chant is in support of a female's right to birth control.
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