When you speak up about any sense of unfairness or injustice, you’re told that you’re overreacting, you’re too angry, too silly—shut up already. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to be able to live in this world as a woman, let alone a woman who wants things to change.
And that’s what was so remarkable and emotional about the Beastie Boys’ feminist turnaround. Maybe your father says sexism doesn’t exist and your boyfriend disrespects you. Maybe you have to deal with assholes on the subway who rub up against you every day and laugh when you yell at them. But listening to this band that you love so much say that your pain is real, that the world is fucked up and that they are not going to participate in actions that hurt you anymore because they care about you—it was the overwhelming feeling of being made visible. They were sending a clear message to their female fans: this isn’t okay, we have your back, we’re sorry.”
This past year, however we saw some daylight in the darkness: the Occupy Wall Street movement represented the city’s first visible fight against the generational urban priorities of Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. And there, marching with us, in between cancer treatments, was Adam “MCA” Yauch.
—A must-read from Dave Zirin, who remembers Adam “MCA” Yauch and the Beastie Boys as global ambassadors from a lost New York City since smothered under the weight of police violence and gentrification.