The American Music Awards ceremony was light on political commentary this Sunday — unless you count co-hosts Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah’s second-rate Melania and Donald Trump impressions, presenter Chrissy Teigen’s reference to “this f—ed up f—ing election” (which got beeped out by ABC censors), or the white pantsuit ardent Hillary Clinton supporter Lady Gaga wore on the red carpet.
But leave to American Idiot punk rockers Green Day to make a statement when the trio performed on the AMAs stage.
Sneering and snarling through “Bang Bang” — Green Day’s Revolution Radio track inspired by the rise in gun violence in the U.S. ,and told from the point of view of a mass shooter — frontman Billie Joe Armstrong broke from the script to chant, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” with his fist in the air. It was a rare moment of danger and rebellion on a show that otherwise categorized twenty one pilots as “Alternative Rock,” and judging by the standing ovation the group received, most of the audience in Los Angeles’s Microsoft Theater agreed with Green Day’s rabble-rousing sentiment.
Armstrong has never been shy about expressing his disdain for President-elect Donald Trump. In an August interview with Kerrang, he compared Trump to Hitler, and last week in an interview with Noisey, he said, “Hillary lost and it’s over. As far as I’m concerned it was fair and square. But I look at the kind of campaign that [Trump] ran and we’re already seeing the fallout from it. People are saying ‘make America white again’ and putting up swastikas. The KKK and other white supremacist organizations have been emboldened by it. The Republican party is like a big house. There’s the fiscal conservatives, the Christian right, and they left a little bedroom in there for the white supremacists… But they’re like rats, and now the rats have taken over the f—ing house.”
Shortly after Green Day’s incendiary performance, another veteran rocker, Sting, accepted a lifetime achievement award and made a sociopolitical statement of his own with a kinder, gentler speech, saying: “It’s important for me, as a musical migrant, to acknowledge the very real debt I already owe to American music… a giant musical jam session where the doors were always open. Open to all comers, and the spirit of welcome and inclusion of rhythm and passion is what made this country the greatest country in the world.”