ANOHNI has released a studio version of her cover of Gloria Gaynor’s classic “I Will Survive.” As she shares in a statement in the description for the YouTube video, the song was a live staple for her early in her career. The accompanying music video was filmed in the 1990s and features ANOHNI as well as the late artist and transgender activist Chloe Dzubilo. Watch that below.
Elsewhere in the statement, ANOHNI reveals that she was originally approached by Facebook in June to license the cover for “an advertisement that represented Facebook as an advocate for small businesses.” The singer says she ultimately turned down the $200,000 offer.
“Although I really could have used the money, I said no because I didn’t want to be complicit in Facebook’s hosting of fake news which might enable the re-election of Donald Trump,” she wrote. “They wrote back saying that they were placating other participants’ concerns by making donations to their charities of choice, in addition to paying them. I woke up the next morning and realized this isn’t even advertising; this is politics, and I don’t even know how deep this water is. This company Droga5 worked with Obama and Google and others. I had to walk away.”
ANOHNI continues: “A month later I saw the ad. Facebook had hired another singer to emulate my version of the song. It was a nauseating feeling.” She then calls for artists to remove themselves from the ecosystems of major tech companies: “We as artists were the first ones to be led to the stall to begin feeding, and being drained by, companies including Apple and Facebook. And now as artists, we must be the first to leave. We must show that it is possible to live without Instagram, without Facebook, without Google and Amazon. We must endeavor to rebuild our lives and our communities, our private conversations, in ways that don’t rely on manipulative infrastructures and interfaces provided by the world’s richest and most malevolent corporations.”
“After the Facebook debacle, I felt compelled to complete my studio version of ‘I Will Survive,’” ANOHNI wrote. “It was the first song I ever sang in nightclubs in NYC when I was 20 years old. I sang it hundreds of times. In those days I sang it thinking of Marsha P. Johnson and the underground queer community struggling to survive in the face of AIDS. Now it seems to me like an anthem for the future of life on earth.”
In August, Facebook released an advertisement in support of small businesses that was soundtracked by Lykke Li’s cover of “I Will Survive,” which the singer would later officially release in September.
Read “ANOHNI Reflects on Her Climate Crisis Anthem ‘4 Degrees’ and the Fight for the Planet” over on the Pitch.