Activism has increased since "you-know-who" has been elected. It's awesome seeing folks use their platform to give back in their own way. My friend, musician Ro Fino, is one of those examples!
I met Ro at Rockwood Musichall through our friend Christine, we instantly clicked right away both being Queens gals! She was one of many that attended the historic Women's March in Washington last month. She was pumped as was I, from marching and wanted to keep the momentum going.
Using social media for good Ro created-Not My President: A Monthly Show of Resistance. The first show is February 19th, very fitting as it is President's Day weekend 😏.
In between working and saving the world, I had the opportunity to do a Q & A with Ro, check it out!
O.C.O: What inspired you to create this monthly initiative?
R.F: I've been involved in activism my entire adult life, but after the election, I just felt like I was not doing enough. I went to the women's march in DC, but as I drove home I worried that I and others might lose the momentum. As a musician/bartender, I don't have much money coming in that isn't being used for living expenses, but I thought what if I start using my music for the cause? I reached out to my friends who are musicians and artists, everyone was so willing to lend their time and their talents. I received so much positive feedback, I realized I could make this a monthly thing.
O.C.O: Who are your music influences?
R.F: I'm really influenced by strong women songwriters. I was raised on a heavy dose of Ani Difranco, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks and then on my own I found bands like Hole and Bikini Kill. I truly love American music from Robert Johnson to Bruce Springsteen. And I would be nothing without Bob Dylan.
O.C.O: What is next for "Not My President: A Monthly Show of Resistance"?
R.F: That's a great question and something that has been haunting me all month haha! I'm thinking for sanity's sake, next month's show will be a little more acoustic and stripped down, then for April we come back with the big bands. We're looking to make donations to Standing Rock, ACLU, CAIR-NY, Border Angels, and Campaign Zero in the upcoming months.
O.C.O: Planned Parenthood is the first organization the initiative is collaborating with, why were they yourfirst choice?
R.F: Planned Parenthood was the first organization I chose because of my own personal relationship with them. As a lower middle class woman, they really are the only resource I can afford to get my yearly pap smear. Every time I've gone there, I have been treated with respect and patience and felt completely comfortable. We need more health centers like this and the negative commentary surrounding Planned Parenthood really upsets me since so often it isn't factual.
O.C.O: What activism songs inspire you?
R.F: There is so many, it's hard to only name a few! I can tell you the ones I'm playing at the show at Legion Bar this Sunday, they are "Children of The Revolution" by TRex and "People Have The Power" by Patti Smith. A couple other favorites are "To The Teeth" by Ani Difranco, "American Skin" by Bruce Springsteen, "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday, "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" by Bob Dylan, and of course "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie.
Come out to Legion with me this Sunday night support a rad initiative for $10! Stick it to the system enjoying an amazing group of musicians + bond with fellow resistance fighters!
Combine art, joy, hope, strength, booze and you have a very powerful force to be recogned with!