He sang a powerful protest song.

Caroline Goldstein
Aug 18, 2020 @ 10:41 am
billy porter DNC
Credit: Santiago Felipe, Getty Images

For reasons we sincerely hope we don’t need to spell out for you, this year’s Democratic National Convention is being held entirely remotely. Happily, Day One of the four-day event kicked off without too many technological difficulties/awkward lingering a la that last person in the Zoom meeting who can’t seem to figure out how to leave. Though, we must report one, great injustice: Most major networks cut off Billy Porter and Stephen Stills’ kitschy-but-powerful rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s canonical protest song “For What It’s Worth.” The nerve! 

Luckily, a user on Twitter came to the rescue (must users on Twitter do everything for us?) and posted the full video.

For your viewing pleasure, here is Billy Porter working the absolute life out of the tails on his bustled vest:

You can also catch Porter and Stills' DNC performance on CSPAN's YouTube page:

According to Variety, Stills originally wrote the song in 1967 as a response to riots that occurred in Los Angeles when police enforced a 10 p.m. curfew for people under the age of 18 (sounds eerily familiar), and it quickly evolved into an anti-Vietnam war anthem. Porter originally covered the song in April this year, before the Black Lives Matter movement experienced a mass resurgence following the murder of George Floyd. Of course, the protest song is even more relevant now, as underscored by the performance’s backdrop of photos and graphics depicting BLM demonstrators.

The mic-drop moment of watching an actual music legend and the first out gay Black man to win an Emmy for Best Actor perform one of the most important anti-establishment songs written in the 20th century followed some other mic-drop moments. Namely, that time when Michelle Obama reminded Americans that things can one million percent get worse than they are now and urged us to “vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it,” because they literally do.  

Not such a bad start, DNC.