Published Nov 02, 2020A month after sharing covers of Bob Dylan and Nina Simone, ANOHNI has returned with a cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."
In an accompanying statement you can find below, ANOHNI explains that "I Will Survive" was the first song she sang in New York nightclubs at age 20, and how a call from Facebook inspired her to finish her studio version.
As ANOHNI explained, "In those days I sang ['I Will Survive'] thinking of Marsha P. Johnson and the underground queer community struggling to survive in the face of AIDS. Now it seems to me like an anthem for the future of life on earth."
She shares dedications throughout the paired performance footage, to "all endangered Black trans lives," "all those awaiting execution in US death chambers," "those in the US who die from medical neglect," "the coral reefs of the world, now rotting" and "Black lives tortured and stolen by American cops."
ANOHNI released her Paradise EP in 2017, which followed 2016 full-length Hopelessness.
In June, Facebook offered me 200,000$ to license an old live version (2001) of me singing "I Will Survive" for an advertisement that represented Facebook as an advocate for small businesses. Although I really could have used the money, I said no because I didn't want to be complicit in Facebook's hosting of fake news which might enable the re-election of Donald Trump. They wrote back saying that they were placating other participants' concerns by making donations to their charities of choice, in addition to paying them. I woke up the next morning and realized this isn't even advertising; this is politics, and i don't even know how deep this water is. This company Droga5 worked with Obama and Google and others. I had to walk away.
A month later I saw the ad. Facebook had hired another singer to emulate my version of the song. It was a nauseating feeling.
We all know that Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and others now seem to be destroying our lives, our minds, our jobs, our cultures, and our societies' ability to govern themselves. We as artists were the first ones to be led to the stall to begin feeding, and being drained by, companies including Apple and Facebook.
And now as artists, we should be the first to leave. We must show that it is possible to live without Instagram, without Facebook, without Google and Amazon. We must endeavor to rebuild our lives and our communities, our private conversations, in ways that don't rely on manipulative infrastructures and interfaces provided by the world's richest corporations.
After the Facebook debacle, I felt compelled to complete my studio version of "I Will Survive". It was the first song I ever sang in nightclubs in NYC when I was 20 years old. I sang it hundreds of times. In those days I sang it thinking of Marsha P. Johnson and the underground queer community struggling to survive in the face of AIDS. Now it seems to me like an anthem for the future of life on earth.
Obviously, Youtube is owned by Google. I haven't closed all my accounts. But I want to talk to you about this; I want to be a part of this conversation.
October 31th 2020