Hawaiian singer Makana Occupies President Obama’s state dinner

  • Published on November 13th, 2011


Makana sings "we are the many" for President Obama"

President Obama held a Luau for leaders of Pacific Rim nations at a summit in Honolulu last night. As part of the entertainment, popular Hawaiian singer Makana was invited to serenade them.

But Makana had just released his new homage to the Occupy Movement, We Are The Many. How could he resist the opportunity? In the midst of the dinner he pulled open his jacket revealing a t-shirt emblazoned Occupy With Aloha. And he sang his song to President Obama and the assembled world leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

We’ll occupy the streets, we’ll occupy the courts, we’ll occupy the offices of you/
till you do the bidding of the many, not the few…

Was he scared? Hell yes! The song opens with the lyrics,

Ye come here, gather ’round the stage/
The time has come for us to voice our rage/
Against the ones who’ve trapped us in a cage/
To steal from us the value of our wage

“I was pretty nervous. In fact I was terrified. I kept thinking ‘what are the consequences going to be’?” Makana, 33, told Agence France Press. “It was incredibly comical. I was terrified but also enjoying it.”

He added that the song prompted awkward stares from a few of those present but the Obamas appeared too absorbed with their guests to notice what was happening. Which is remarkable, since he kept it up for about 40 minutes, varying his tempo and delivery enough to keep security from coming down on him like a load of bricks.

“The people closest to me turned around and gave me a funny look,” he told Honolulu Civil Beat. “But nobody really knew what to say. When I would get their attention, I’d back off a bit. It was like a cat-and-mouse game. I played another song, but then had about a half-hour left so I sang it again. I just mutated it into a symphony that just went on and on, and I kept changing the way I sang it for the remaining time.”

Here’s the version of the song he released Saturday on YouTube:

And here’s a video he made to describe his experience singing for the Obamas:

Get We Are The Many as a free download on Makana’s website.


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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.


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