I have admired Grace Slick since I was about eight years old.
My father was a fan of Jefferson Airplane, the name of the band in which Grace was the lead singer. He enjoyed Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” written and performed by Grace. If there is such a volume level as stun on a stereo, that’s how my father liked to listen to the song. You can learn more about Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane from this excellent Wikipedia article.
As time went by, Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship, and then just Starship for a while. Grace Slick left music behind in the late 1980s, explaining in her usual in-your-face style that, “All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire.” The woman never fails to say exactly what’s on her mind.
Today, Grace Slick is a mixed media visual artist. She often travels to attend the shows at galleries who display her work. I thought I’d never hear anything more about Grace and the bands she fronted.
I was wrong.
If you watched this year’s Grammy telecast and didn’t skip out during the commercials, you would have seen an ad for the anti-gay fast food franchise Chick-fil-A. And, you would have heard the unmistakable voice of Grace Slick fronting the band Starship, performing “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
Yeah, that was a bit of a shock. I didn’t know for sure, but it seemed unlikely to me that Grace Slick would lend her support to Chick-fil-A. I figured she probably didn’t own the song. Nothing she could do about it.
Then I read a post she wrote on the Forbes website. Yes, Grace Slick actually did give Chick-fil-A’s advertising agency permission to use not only the song, but her recording of it with Starship.
But this is Grace Slick.
For the record, Grace Slick supports same-sex marriage. “I firmly believe that men should be able to marry men, and women women,” Grace writes in her Forbes post. “I am passionately against anyone who would try to suppress this basic human right.”
Why, then, did she let Chick-fil-A use the song in a commercial?
Take it away, Grace.
“So my first thought when ‘Check’-fil-A came to me was, “F**k no! But then I decided, F**k yes.”
One of Rock’n Roll’s greatest women saw an opportunity to feed Chick-fil-A a tasty sandwich not on their menu. We’ll call it the fried irony special.
And Grace will explain.
“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 [Chick-fil-A’s philanthropic foundation] 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.”
Mmmm…what a tasty sandwich.
So sayeth the StickMonkey