For as long as the Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked and grown, so has its criticism. Although a fair share of the complaints from the opposition revolve around noise and inconvenience from those living and working around lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, the biggest criticism has been about how the OWS’ers don’t seem to have a concise, singular message in their protest. Perhaps the reason for this is because it’s the first internet-era movement in our nation’s history and, well, a lot of people have a lot to say on myriad issues. Jobs? Check. War? Check. Economy? Check. Bank accountability? — the list goes on and on.
Amidst all of the issues being addressed by the OWS’ers, there is one running theme of their expression: Art. Be it clever t-shirts, posters, chanting or song, a good 99% of the 99% have made their voices ring out through some sort of artistic form. Their one problem, however, is the same problem that’s been plaguing them since Day 1 — too many complaints and not enough singular resonance.
Enter one of Astoria, Queens’ hottest up and coming bands, The Yes Team, and their Occupy-Wall-Street-inspired jam, “We Are the 99%.” Comprised of TJ Moss, Jonathan Walsh, and Kinnie Dye, The Yes Team combine soulful grooves and positive lyrics with outstanding harmonies in a powerful-yet-minimalist approach (generally a guitar, a shaker and a djembe drum). Simply put, if you’re having a bad day or are filled with any sense of doubt, The Yes Team is there to pick you up, dust you off and put a smile back on your face … and maybe dance a bit in the process.
The question is, of course, why a band who preach positivity would write a song pertaining to a political protest? Band co-creator TJ Moss says it’s essentially about support. “Just knowing [the OWS’ers] are out there every day is inspiring. We needed to do something,” Moss explains. What they may not have realized is that they not only wrote a great song of support, but managed to encompass the entire, singular message of Occupy Wall Street in the process. With simplicity and their signature soul, some of the lyrics state, “we’re willing to fight — peacefully — in a world that is increasingly doing what’s right … we are the 99%; this is our living testament; we will not go away — we will not wait in vain … we’re ready for the world to change.”
Yes, the song speaks of change in general. However, it also touches upon overall equality, both financially and societally, as well as security for the present and future generations.
And isn’t that what Occupy Wall Street is really all about?
To hear the song in full, click here or check out the band’s site: www.YesTeamGo.com