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Trump vs. Rihanna: Singer Sends Cease and Desist Letter to President

In a rare case of political irony, one musician asks that the President does, in fact, “stop the music.”

Rachel Cross

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Last week, Rihanna issued a cease and desist order against the Trump administration after discovering her music was played at political events where President Trump appeared.

A cease-and-desist letter is a legally enforceable order from a court or government agency directing someone to stop engaging in a particular activity (a.k.a. the wrongdoing of the intended participant).

According to Rolling Stone, Rihanna prohibits the use of her music at rallies and gatherings sponsored by or promoting Trump and his administration.

Broadcast Music, Inc. (aka BMI) followed up with a second cease and desist order supporting Rihanna’s request. BMI publicly announced that they had removed Robyn Fenty, publicly known as Rihanna, and all of her music from the public agreement:

“BMI has received a communication from Robyn Fenty, professionally known as ‘Rihanna,’ objecting to the Trump Campaign’s use of Rihanna’s musical works,” read a letter from BMI.  “Rihanna’s musical works are excluded from [Donald J. trump for President, Inc. Political Entities License Agreement], and any performance of Rihanna’s musical works by the Trump Campaign from this date forward is not authorized by BMI.”

Rihanna first learned that her recordings — specifically her 2007 hit “Don’t Stop the Music” — were being played at a Trump rally in Tennessee from Washington Post writer Philip Rucker, who was covering of the event. He sent a tweet that caught Rihanna’s attention:

According to Vulture, Rihanna is not the first artist to request that the Trump administration not use their work. Adele, Queen and Elton John are among those who have formally requested their music is not played at events associated with the Trump administration.

It is still unclear whether the Trump administration intends to abide by the letter’s demands.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Rachel is a Journalism and Communications major student in Southern California. She has also studied briefly at Arizona State University. She started her journalism career in high school where she attended and competed in 3 consecutive years at the JEA/NSPA National Higher Journalism Convention. Currently, Rachel is working to finish her degree, and in her free time she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and fueling her love for coffee and books.

Lilia is a junior at Berklee College of Music majoring in Professional Music - with concentrations in Creative Entrepreneurship and Music Business - with a minor in Visual Culture and New Media Studies. In short, this basically means that she one day wishes to work for herself in an industry that allows her freedom of expression, and she believes that music journalism will do so. If she isn't talking about music, which she usually is, she's most often exploring her other interests such as fashion and film. Her taste are eclectic and she hopes to talk about it all here.

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