It happened at Adam Yauch park in Brooklyn
When the Beastie Boys burst on the scene in the mid ‘80s, the punky rappers were known for party anthems and hard-hitting beats. But as the band evolved, by the early ‘90s, messages of social consciousness creeped into their music and the trio began supporting the Free Tibet movement, women’s charities, and animal rights groups. Leading the charge was rapper/bassist Adam “MCA” Yauch who died of cancer in 2012 and was memorialized in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York with a park in 2013.
Last week, Adam Yauch Park was vandalized by Donald Trump supporters who spray painted swastikas and “Go Trump” on playground equipment. The act has been seen as a hate crime by the NYPD because all three Beastie Boys are of Jewish ancestry. “There is zero tolerance for hate crimes in our beautifully diverse city. The NYPD takes these reprehensible crimes very seriously and the mayor’s office closely monitors them,” said a spokesman for the Office of the Mayor.
To stand up against this act of anti-Semitism, an anti-hate rally was held at Adam Yauch Park on Sunday and hundreds of supporters showed up alongside Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, his wife, feminist activist and former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna, actor Ben Stiller, and long-time Beastie Boys collaborators “Money” Mark Nishita and DJ Hurricane. “MCA was always my favorite Beastie Boy,” rally attendee Maria Paz Alegre told Rolling Stone. “His discussion of violence against women and his regret over misogynistic lyrics in the past always moved me,” she says. “For this park specifically to be defaced since he was [Jewish] was painful.”
Adam Yauch with the Dalai Lama
The most poignant words of the rally came from Horovitz, who spoke fondly of his friend and bandmate. “[Yauch] was also someone that taught nonviolence in his music, in his life to all of us.” Then the “Sabotage” singer turned his focus on the acts of hate that have been inspired by Trump’s election. “We have elected a president who has given the message that it’s ok to write ‘White Power’ in high school hallways, that it’s ok to attack women and girls, and that Latinos and Muslims and Jews are bad people, and that you can electroshock ‘the gay’ out of somebody… come on!” Horovitz said through a bullhorn. “This is homegrown terrorism for real… I reject Donald Trump’s vision for America. New York City, I’m asking you to do the same.”
Here’s a clip of Yauch speaking out against violence and discrimination at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998.