From Cardi B to Cher to Yungblud, musicians make right choice by weighing in on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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      While the promise of sex, drugs, and beachfront houses in Malibu have long been three big reasons why creative folks roll the dice on the music business, it’s not all over-the-top excess all of the time. There’s also a long tradition of activism in the world of pop music, whether you’re talking Detrot garage rawk, Atlanta hip-hop, Seattle grunge, or Scandinavian death metal.

      Given all this, it should surprise no one that musicians around the world are expressing their outrage today at Russia invading Ukraine. And, importantly, it’s not just Ruslana, Svetlana Loboda, Anyuta Slavskaya, and the members of Vopli Vidopliassova who are incensed at Russian President and пиво-league hockey player Vladimir Putin.

      Taking to Instagram with an abtract Munsch-like image, solo artist and former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox posted: “What kind of ‘price’ must ordinary people pay for the nightmarish madness and brutality of ‘invasion’ and ‘warfare’? Or is this just an elaborate hoax? A scare tactic? A threat? Apologies for this dark reflection, but I’ve had the privilege of living in a ‘peaceful’ context since I was born—a decade after the end of WW2—67 years in total. I don’t take this for granted in any way and therefore find the notion of ‘war’ to be unacceptable repugnant barbarism.”

      Cardi B meanwhile kept things short on Twitter with “Wish these world leaders stop tripping about power and really think about [who’s] really getting affected (citizens) besides the whole world is in a crisis. War, sanctions, invasions should be the last thing these leaders should worry about.”

      Her Tweet was, predictably, immediately followed by the reply “It is okay not to form opinions when you are ill-informed on a topic.” Which is weird because it automatically assumes that any musician who cares enough about a political event (especially one with the potential to alter the world as we know it) to comment on it is quite possibly more clueless than the Sunset Strip hair farmers of the mid-’80s.

      It’s understandable then why many celebrities choose to keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics. Sometimes picking a side can be a career move with consequences.

      If the god gives someone a platform to reach hundreds of thousands—or, for a lucky few, millions—of adoring fans, they have an obligation to thank her by using it to make the world a better place. But the decision to go down that road requires some thought.

      Weirdly, the rules aren’t the same for everyone who entertains for a living. Speaking up comes with a cost in the acting world, as celebrities from Michael Moore and Orson Welles to James Woods and that guy who played Chachi on Happy Days have discovered over the years. Even those born into Hollywood royalty have paid the price for taking a stand. As Jane Fonda found out, one minute you’re straddling a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi to protest the Vietnam war, the next you’re blacklisted in Hollywood as Hanoi Jane.

      Jane Fonda, taking a stand on the Vietnam War in 1975.
      Rob Mieremet / Anefo/Wikimedia Commons

      Perhaps because they’ve been breaking rules since the early days of Little Richard terrifying white America—not to mention Jerry Lee Lewis banging his 13-year-old cousin—musicians historically don’t think twice about letting their political views be known. Which explains why we think nothing of Neil Young shitting on the anti-vax cabal, Ted Nugent declaring Donald Trump the greatest thing since Ronald Reagan, and Rage Against the Machine doing everything but register for the Communist Party USA.

      Known for letting her opinions fly on topics ranging from abortion to the way Roadrunner Records treat its non-metallic freak-flag-fliers, Amanda Palmer Tweeted a New York Times headline reading “Russia Attacks Ukraine." That was accompanied by ,“my heart is cracking. i know i have a few followers in russia, ukraine, poland, turkey and thereabouts. my love is going to everyone in your part of the world. it must be frightening."

      Public Enemy’s Chuck D took a more succinct route on Twitter with, “1 Old white male russian pushes the go button and Earth gets sick . World gets crazy. Oboy”.

      And Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos went long-form with a series of Tweets that started with, “I was fortunate enough to spend time in the beautiful cities of Kyev and Odessa when I played there with our band. The people I met were warm and my fond memories are now tinged with indescribable sadness as I see what is happening.” That was followed by: “I feel for the people of Russia too, particularly the people I have met over the years who I know are appalled by this action and know what the horrific consequences of this action are for them. For all of us.”

      Here's what other musicians are saying about the conflict. (And if you're more interested in reading about beachfront-mansion orgies, Mt. Everest-size piles of blow, or thowing flatscreen TVs into hotel swimming pools, get off the internet and go read The Dirt, watch The Runaways, or listen to Geto Boys. No one will judge you, even if the world is about to go up in flames.)