Chick-fil-A is a fast food chicken chain that doesn’t seem to like LGBT people. Grace Slick is a retired, vegan hippie rock star who once planned to spike Richard Nixon’s tea with LSD. One might not expect an intersection of the music legend and the homophobic chicken, but in this post-post-post-post,etc.-modern world we’re living in, to expect anything but the unexpected often proves misguided.
You may have caught a Chick-fil-A commercial during the Grammys, which uses Starship’s (the band that formed from Jefferson Starship, which formed from Jefferson Airplane) “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” as the musical backdrop for a series of clips in which oddly placed cows advocate for people to “eat more chicken.” Grace Slick — the former vocalist for all of the above bands — just published a piece in Forbes explaining why: she’s taking the money from the commercial and donating it all to an LGBT rights group.
The backstory: Chick-fil-A’s reputation as an anti-LGBT chicken restaurant was spread into the mainstream when, in 2011, it was reported that a Chick-fil-A restaurant was co-sponsoring a marriage conference with the gay marriage-opposed Pennsylvania Family Institute — which was also advocating for bans on gender/sexual identity oriented discrimination. But that was small in comparison to everything else the company’s founder had done: the WinShape Foundation, created by Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, donated over $5 million to groups that rally against gay marriage, including one (the Family Research Council) that’s have been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and another (Exodus International) that was the largest “ex-gay” ministry and advocated conversion therapy. Cathy’s son Dan, who now runs the company, expressed to a Christian news organization that the company supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” He later said, “As it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” After the company pretty much became synonymous with homophobia, he expressed regret over their handling of the issue, and Chick-fil-A largely scaled back their foundation’s giving to groups like those mentioned above… for the most part.
Which brings us to the present — and present intersection of the chicken and the psychedelic rock musician. Slick writes in Forbes about her decision to let them use “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in the disorienting cow commercial:
I firmly believe that men should be able to marry men, and women women. I am passionately against anyone who would try to suppress this basic human right. So my first thought when “Check”-fil-A came to me was, “F**k no!” But then I decided, “F**k yes.” … 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.
She quotes Jennifer Lopez quoting Toni Morrison during the Grammys, repeating, “‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence, and no room for fear. We do language. That is how civilizations heal.'”As Flavorwire just noted in a recent post, in the wake of news of Donald Trump/Jeff Sessions’ legislation retracting Obama’s guidance on trans students’ usage of gender-segregated facilities, Lambda Legal has said they’ll sue “any school district that discriminates against trans students.” You can donate to the LGBT rights nonprofit here.