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People around the world were stunned to find themselves united in appreciation for Nickelback this week. President Donald Trump late Wednesday tweeted a meme from the band’s 2005 video for “Photograph,” with Joe Biden, his son, and a “Ukraine gas exec” photoshopped together—and the oft-mocked rock dudes swiftly reacted by making a copyright complaint.
Nickelback, it seems, is woke.
The band isn’t alone. Many of their peers from the ’90s today use their platforms to shine a light on injustice, inequality, and lies. Here are some of the best woke ’90s bands on the internet today.
The best ’90s bands… that have since become woke on Twitter
The Irish megastars led by O.G. ultra-woke Bono work on a variety of progressive causes, like the environment and human rights, across the globe. The organizations and causes U2 has championed include Amnesty International, Make Poverty History, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, and Greenpeace, to name only a few.
Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose was one of the sexiest men in music in the early ’90s. After fans complained about hearing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at a Trump rally in November, Rose took to Twitter to complain about “shitbags” using their songs for “craven political purposes” without consent. He wasn’t done.
Later in the thread, Rose said Trump has “no regard for truth, ethics, morals or empathy of any kind, who says what’s real is fake n’ what’s fake is real.”
We have an individual in the WH that will say n’ do anything w/no regard for truth, ethics, morals or empathy of any kind, who says what’s real is fake n’ what’s fake is real.— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 4, 2018
Morissette is kind of a gimme for woke ’90s musicians. Her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill was immediately embraced as an anthem for feminists everywhere. In the 24 years since its release, Morissette has continued advocating for women’s equality like a boss.
“I talk about this with my kids a lot, the four boundaries being: 1) You can't tell me what I'm thinking, 2) you can't tell me what I'm feeling, 3) you can't fucking touch my body/you can't do anything with my body, 4) don't touch my stuff” Alanis told me. https://t.co/F0nOLo5u9P pic.twitter.com/bhK5eDifkv— Alanis Morissette (@Alanis) June 26, 2019
The one and only D-O-double-G has never been shy about sharing his opinions about politics or otherwise. In 2012, he endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul before going all in with Obama. Earlier this year, Snoop took to Instagram to annihilate Trump over the federal government shutdown, telling blue-collar federal workers that the president “doesn’t give a fuck about you.”
The dudes who brought us “All-Star” are surprise bannermen for ’90s band wokeness. On Twitter, they’re best known for a bizarre feud with Drake, giving Neil deGrasse Tyson his comeuppance about a boneheaded tweet about mass shootings, and taking a very strong stand against straight pride parades. They’re not too busy playing the same song night after night to also lend support to Greta Thunberg.
Straight Pride Parade????? FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) June 4, 2019
You simply cannot make a woke ’90s band list without the Seattle grunge stars who would’ve been emo if members had been born a decade later. They were enlightened in the ’90s; since then the band led by Eddie Vedder has continued evolving. Their Vitalogy Foundation supports organizations working for social justice, health, the environment, and the arts, and the band has been calculating its carbon output since 2003 and donating a portion of tour profits to mitigate it.
#EddieVedder stopped by the @PPFA booth at @TheOhanaFest this past weekend to raise awareness around key healthcare and women's rights issues.— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) October 2, 2019
Want to help Planned Parenthood continue their work? https://t.co/2bvJDhCyfc pic.twitter.com/4MYyPS3EA6
If you were out of diapers in 2003, you remember the scandal that erupted when lead singer Natalie Maines spoke against the Iraq War and President George W. Bush during a London concert. Sixteen years later, the country trio is still “not ready to back down,” and Maines still speaks out against the president.
A long-awaited album is slated for next year.
She’s not just a queen, she’s a goddess. Queen Latifah gifted the ’90s with her mix of wisdom, humor, and relatability. Today, she keeps it coming while drawing attention to things like homophobia, body positivity, and issues affecting the Black community.
I believe in META’s mission to impact change across key issues affecting the black community. Thank you @bet and #ScottMills and to my fellow panelists #EsiEgglestonBracey, @iamcharlesdking, #RonWilliams, and moderator @morgandebaun for the thoughtful discussion. #META4Change pic.twitter.com/lTCDNRBI48— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) June 26, 2019
In the ’90s, Green Day was the catchy punk band your parents hated. Now they’re parents themselves. The band fronted by Billie Joe Armstrong isn’t penning political tunes (for now), but the guys who recorded quintessential political album American Idiot still consider themselves part of the resistance.
Last year, for example, they helped fundraise for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
Our hearts are with our friends in Puerto Rico, still rebuilding a year after hurricane Maria. We are grateful for the work @ricky_martin and his foundation are doing. They still need our help! https://t.co/PhCPRO6f7b to get your own shirt. Let’s show 🖤 And that we are #allin4PR— Billie Joe Armstrong (@billiejoe) October 23, 2018
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
The country superstar couple is a rarity in a genre best known for huntin’, drinkin’, trucks, and, oftentimes, MAGA politics. But McGraw and Hill have been woke since back before he was singing about a woman’s right to choose. They publicly supported Obama during both presidential campaigns and Hillary Clinton in 2016, and continue lending their talents, time, and money to many progressive causes, including gun control.
Hey, friends! I’m joining @MichelleObama, @tomhanks, @Lin_Manuel, @JanelleMonae, @CP3 &@TheTimMcGraw to make sure every American understands the rights and— Faith Hill (@FaithHill) July 19, 2018
responsibilities we all share in shaping our democracy. That means: VOTING!
Join us: https://t.co/JRfi1eF5d9 https://t.co/sLwsYbTOXf
The king of political incorrectness has never held back. Love him or hate him—and he gets plenty of both—Eminem is an undeniably skilled rapper with a knack for cutting through B.S. Most probably don’t realize that Slim Shady is also a longtime advocate for taking action on climate change. At the 2017 BET Awards, he proved yet again that he’ll never shy from saying exactly what’s on his mind when he dropped a long Trump diss.
As fellow Michigan men and rock stars Ted Nugent, who called the Parkland survivors “mushy-brained children” who “have no souls,” and Kid Rock skew right, the rapper born Marshall Mathers seems hell-bent on speaking on behalf of the Midwestern working class.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.