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BILL WOLFF- Welcome back to Protest Anthems, the podcast about all things music, social justice, and protest.In this episode, Megan Lee discusses pop star artist Pink’s 2017 release “What About Us”. Pink’s interpretation of her song shares hidden messages on the importance of inequality between races in America as well as feminist movements that were against former leaders during that time. Pink shares her voice and message to encourage others to speak up for what they believe in.

Tape — Trump’s inauguration speech 

…“We the citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for “all” of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many many years to come”

Tape — Women’s March Protests 

…(Protestors chanting “This Land is your Land”)

 Pink begins first verse and chorus:    

“We are searchlights we can see in the dark, we are rockets pointed up at the stars. We are billions of beautiful hearts, and you sold us down the river too far…” What About us? What about all the times you said you had the answers?”  


NARRATOR (Megan Lee): Popular songwriter and performer, Pink, opens up to her fans and audience through her song ‘What About Us’ in 2017.  Like many other Americans, she shows the story of a “lost generation” which mirrors the pain of all Americans that have felt abandoned and unheard by today’s society. Pink as well as many others believe that no human deserves to have their voices unheard regardless of their sexuality, gender, religious belief, or skin color. This song exemplifies the importance of this important issue.

During this time in 2017, many people experienced a massive transition which either upset a lot of people or made a lot of people happy. In most cases, it made a lot of people upset and horrified for our future and future generations to come. Former President Donald Trump was inaugurated into office for four years. Many people during this time were horrified for their futures especially women who fought for justice against sexual abuse and harassment.


What about us? What about all the broken happy ever afters? What about us? What about all the plans that ended in disaster? What about love? What about trust? What about us?


NARRATOR (Megan Lee): While many others loved the song for its upbeat, electric rhythm and sound, most people unacknowledged its true meaning beneath the lyrics. Co-writer Johnny McDaid sat down with Billboard in 2017 and discussed the lyrics behind the infamous song: 


2nd NARRATOR (Megan Lee’s Mom): That unclear question in the song is essential to its brilliance, says Johnny McDaid, who co-wrote the song with Pink and his frequent collaborator producer Steve Mac. Though McDaid would not discuss the specific meaning behind the song, he described the “alchemy” behind its creation, and explained to Billboard that the message was very much something that “revealed” itself over the threesome’s time in the studio together.

“From my perspective the creation of it ,is about looking into yourself, interacting. It’s like alchemy,  you interact with the person there in the room, these ideas come out and what the ideas are for Pink are probably different to even the person hearing it. And that’s the beauty of her, she really allows people to receive her music the way they do. She doesn’t take it personally. Whatever way they react to it, she has a very secure sense of self and writing with someone like that is a real joy…. Pink doesn’t hold back. Her heart is so open, her heart is giant and it makes our life as collaborators not just easier, but really joyous.” says Johnny McDaid in his interview with Billboard magazine.


We are problems that want to be solved. We are children that need to be loved…”


NARRATOR (Megan Lee): What makes this song even more significant in today’s society is how Pink’s involvement regarding the Feminist’s movement gained much recognition from her audience and viewers.  

In 2018, Pink stood up in solidarity with the #metoomovement while wearing a t-shirt and jeans to the Grammy Awards. The #metoomovement focused on the fight against sexual abuse and harassment where most women protested their allegations of sex crimes in the U.S. I believe Pink’s song became an anthem for those whose voices are silenced in today’s society. Pink shows us that we are a force to be reckoned with while encouraging people to speak up for the better of others in order to spread peace, love and happiness in society. 


Tape- Interview with Good Morning America

Interviewer: What About Us, I mean, I feel joy every time I hear that song. It’s so good, but you would think it’s about a relationship. What is it actually about?

PINK: You could think that, I don’t like to tell people what songs are about, just because it’s whatever it is for you. Like one of my girlfriends, for her it’s about love, for me it’s about how the government has failed us and it could be about all of it.

Interviewer: That’s the beautiful thing about this song because it can mean so much to so many people but I just love listening to it regardless.


“What about love, what about trust, what about us. What about us, what about us, what about us.”

Ending Audio of the song ‘What about Us’ silently ends the podcast