In the new age of the Trump presidency, famous and small-time artists have been using the stage to fight back. Indie rock band Best Coast’s leading lady Bethany Cosentino rallied Los Angeles for her recent show, “Don’t Sit Down: A Planned Parenthood Benefit,” that successfully raised donations to Planned Parenthood in a sold-out venue.
The event filled the house at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Sat. March 4. The benefit show featured Cosentino’s band Best Coast alongside Grouplove, Wavves, Veruca Salt, Liz Phair and newer artists on the L.A. scene. One side of the room featured a silent auction and limited edition merchandise, all proceeds going to the organization.
Cosentino has used her platform as an artist to voice her opinions on society, the music industry and more recently, politics. After the 2016 election, Cosentino made her stand on the newly elected president and his policies quickly. This was not the first Planned Parenthood benefit show either, Cosentino previously hosted a Planned Parenthood show back in New York in 2011.
In between passionate songs, Cosentino described her intimate relationship to the health care organization:
“I realized that I was gonna have sex [at age 13] and when you’re a young girl, you’re afraid to talk to your parents,” recalled Cosentino. “A friend of mine told me I could get birth control there. Planned Parenthood made me feel comfortable with my body and sexuality.”
Cosentino still called on Planned Parenthood’s services when she got older. With no insurance at the time, the organization still provided her with their services and discovered pre-cancerous cells on her cervix. “Planned Parenthood has a special place in [Cosentino’s] heart. It’s such a slap in the face to pull funding for an organization that provides healthcare for so many.”
Katie Gavin of the local band MUNA shared her story to the crowd that Saturday night. A representative of Planned Parenthood also took to the stage to talk facts about the organization. The representative received cheers as she reminded the audience about how one in five women in the U.S. will visit a Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings and STD testing.
“Our doors are gonna stay open thanks to all of you,” the representative said.
Many people in the music industry have been using their platform to combat injustices. Record labels like Tiny Engines and Run for Cover donated their Bandcamp proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Beastie Boy’s Ad-Rock designed a shoe with proceeds going towards Planned Parenthood. The National, Common and other artists took to the stage in a pre-inauguration show. Local Wilkes-Barre venue The Other-Side just hosted a benefit show that raised $3,343.
This benefit show was only one basic step towards change, something Cosentino and many artists realize. Cosentino’s advice at the show: “Resist, just keep resisting.”