You may have noticed the use of Starship’s 1987 hit “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in a recent Chick-fil-A commercial and thought, “Hmm, I thought Starship built this city on rock and roll, not hate,” or, “Well I’ll be damned, breeders have torn yet another artifact of queer culture and woven it into the fabric of their pleated-khaki lives (this time the movie Mannequin, which was soundtracked by “Nothing” and featured Kim Cattrall in a starring role and Meshach Taylor as the scene-stealing, gay-as-fuck Hollywood).” If you’ve been living in a state of confusion since the commercial played during the Grammys, allow Starship/Jefferson Airplane frontwoman Grace Slick to clear things up.
Writing for Forbes, Slick recounts her initial resistance when she was asked to license her song to an organization that became synonymous with bigotry when it was revealed a few years back that its owners’ WinShape Foundation had donated to the cause against marriage equality, and whose CEO Dan Cathy has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage. But after some thought, Slick’s “Fuck no,” she writes, became a “Fuck yes”:
So that was my voice you heard on the Chick-fil-A commercial during the Grammy Awards telecast. I am donating every dime that I make from that ad to Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, and everyone living with HIV. Admittedly it’s not the millions that WinShape has given to organizations that define marriage as heterosexual. But instead of them replacing my song with someone else’s and losing this opportunity to strike back at anti-LGBTQ forces, I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to “Check”-fil-A’s causes – and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back.
Slick adds that her symbolic gesture is being made to inspire other artists to use their wealth to make a difference. “I hope more musicians will think about the companies that they let use their songs; we can use our gifts to help stop the forces of bigotry,” she writes. When she puts it like that, it sounds so easy.
Oh, and if you suspect that this is damage control after getting in bed with a shitty company only to realize that sheets are brown, Slick writes:
You might think I’m writing this just to cover my ass for allowing a company whose practices many find morally objectionable to use Starship’s music. Well, I haven’t covered my ass since the day I was born (except, maybe, in a pair of white Levi’s). From the moment I agreed to license the song, I knew I wanted to set an example for other artists.