A bit of Richmond music news making national headlines this morning. Music fans in Richmond, and we at the mag, have a well-documented love for Lucy Dacus, a homegrown talent. But apparently, she shares no love for former President Barak Obama.
Each summer, the former president curates a diverse and eclectic playlist showcasing his musical palate. Obama’s previous picks have resonated with a wide audience, with Angelica Garcia’s “Jicama” from Richmond being a pretty big deal when it happened. However, this year’s inclusion of Boygenius has sparked an unexpected reaction from Lucy.
boygenius, comprising Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus, has had a landmark year with the release of their debut album, The Record. Their noteworthy performances at SXSW and Coachella have further established their rising status. So, the selection of their track, “Not Strong Enough,” for Obama’s renowned summer playlist might be viewed as an affirmation of their success.
In response to Obama’s Twitter post revealing the playlist, Dacus responded with a simple yet charged comment, “war criminal :(“
This marks a unique instance in Obama’s playlist curation history where a featured artist has publically responded with a call out. But does she have a point? Obama has faced accusations of being a ‘war criminal’ before, mainly due to his endorsement of drone warfare during his presidency.
Under Obama’s tenure, approximately 3,797 people were killed in 563 drone strikes, including a strike targeting a funeral in Pakistan, resulting in 41 civilian casualties. The first drone strike he authorized in Yemen resulted in the death of 55 people, including 21 children and 12 women, five of whom were pregnant. A failure to distinguish between militants and civilians during these drone strikes is believed to have caused between 384 and 807 civilian deaths, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Particularly controversial was the ‘double-tap’ strategy, where a second strike targeted rescuers and first responders attending the initial attack scene. Multiple human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, argued that this tactic breached the Geneva Convention, potentially constituting a war crime.
This event is not the first time Dacus has voiced her political stance. Known for her candidness, she has previously shown support for Bernie Sanders, criticized Donald Trump as an “evil, bigoted man,” and, along with boygenius, protested anti-drag bills with a drag show in Nashville.
During this year’s Coachella performance, the band used their platform to advocate for equality. Dacus vocalized support for the safety of transgender children, while Bridgers emphatically called out Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis.
However, Dacus’s latest remark has ruffled more than a few liberal feathers, and given conservative media outlets a few talking points today.