The pair, who recently teamed up for a film version of Byrne’s show ‘American Utopia’, have said they fear Donald Trump could get a second term despite Joe Biden being ahead in the polls.
Byrne said: “I’m scared about the election. Just the other day, I started reaching out to some voting organisations, because I want to see if it makes sense for me to go to, say, Pennsylvania to get people in a swing state to vote, and to make sure that everybody who wants a mail-in ballot gets one. I think I’ll do it.”
Lee added: “This guy [Trump] is going to do anything to win. It’s going to be skullduggery, shenanigans, subterfuge. And also, I feel that if we don’t come out to vote in the numbers we need for a landslide that’s not in his favour, he’s going to contest the election. I don’t think he’s going to want to leave the White House. This thing is not a lock. I don’t care what the polls say.”
They also praised Janelle Monáe‘s protest song ‘Hell You Talmbout’ in Byrne’s production. The track, which Byrne has covered since the beginning of his ‘American Utopia’ concert tour, names some of the Black victims of police brutality, and racial violence, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sharonda Singleton, and Freddie Gray.
Byrne and Lee, who have teamed for the film version of the Broadway production of the show entitled David Byrne’s American Utopia, gave their opinion on the track and said they ensured that the film showed the faces of the victims.
Lee told Esquire: “You know, I was just listening to the lyrics: ‘Say their names, say their names’. And there was an opportunity to show their faces, too. But here’s the sad thing. Every time I went to the show, we’d say, ‘Well, here’s another name that we need to add next week. And here’s another.’ After we finished shooting, we added Breonna Taylor, we added George Floyd.”
Byrne added: “I loved the song when I first heard it, because it reminds you of the humanity of these people who’ve been murdered. You know, they are not just numbers or something you read in the newspaper. This person had a name. And that takes it out of being some kind of political football. It’s something where you go, ‘This is not the way we should be with one another’.”