Fans of Starship frontwoman Grace Slick were likely surprised to hear her 1987 single "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" scoring an ad for the fried chicken restaurant chain Chick-fil-A.
But, in a 30-second spot during the Grammy Awards telecast, her song played as cows wearing virtual reality headsets encouraged viewers to "Eat Mor Chiken," its long-running slogan.
Slick entered the national consciousness through her work in the '60s psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, a group closely linked to the gay rights movement as outlined in "Got a Revolution!" by Jeff Tamarkin. She and other members of Jefferson Airplane later formed the group Jefferson Starship, which eventually splintered into simply Starship.
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A, a chain closed on Sundays and nicknamed "Jesus Chicken" due to its Georgia founder's deep Southern Baptist beliefs, sparked national controversy in 2011 when one of its franchises hosted a convention titled "The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God's Design" - an anti-gay marriage seminar.
One particular headline summed up the reaction: "If you're eating Chick-fil-A, you're eating anti-gay." Boycotts of the chain broke out around the country.
MOST READ ENTERTAINMENT NEWS THIS HOUR
Given the differences between Slick and Chick on the question of LGBT marriage rights, they made odd bedfellows, a fact not lost on some Grammy viewers.
Slick, though, was keenly aware of this incongruity. In fact, that's exactly why she licensed the song to the chicken chain.
In an op-ed for Forbes titled "Why I Decided To License Starship's Music To Chick-fil-A," she wrote that she wasn't looking for a quick paycheck. Instead, she saw the commercial as a way to use the company's own money to fund anti-LGBT advocacy. A Trojan horse of sorts.
"Chick-fil-A pisses me off," Slick bluntly stated. "The Georgia-based company has a well-documented history of funding organizations, through their philanthropic foundation WinShape, that are against gay marriage."
The WinShape Foundation, a charity organization established by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, bills itself as a set of ministries that "meet individual needs, foster safe spaces for growth and exploration, and make you feel known - no matter your background or current stage of life." Indeed, the foundation has come under scrutiny for donating money to anti-LBGT organizations, such as the Marriage & Family Foundation and the National Christian Foundation.
These groups stand is stark opposition to Slick's beliefs, as she wrote:
"I firmly believe that men should be able to marry men, and women women. I am passionately against anyone who would try to suppress this basic human right. So my first thought when 'Check'-fil-A came to me was, 'F-- no!'
"But then I decided, 'F- yes.'"
This change in mind-set might seem fast enough to induce whiplash, but Slick had devised a plan to donate the money made from the commercial - money derived from Chick-fil-A - to a legal organization dedicated to defending LGBT rights.
As Slick wrote:
"I am donating every dime that I make from that ad to Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, and everyone living with HIV. Admittedly it's not the millions that WinShape has given to organizations that define marriage as heterosexual. But instead of them replacing my song with someone else's and losing this opportunity to strike back at anti-LGBTQ forces, I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to "Check"-fil-A's causes - and to make a public example of them, too. We're going to take some of their money, and pay it back."
In Slick's eyes, this is was a throwback to her advocacy days. She wrote she's "from a time when artists didn't just sell their soul to the highest bidder, when musicians took a stand, when the message of songs was 'feed your head,' not 'feed your wallet,'" a reference to her band's psychedelic drug-celebrating hit "White Rabbit."
"I hope more musicians will think about the companies that they let use their songs; we can use our gifts to help stop the forces of bigotry."
Chick-fil-A hasn't responded to her op-ed.
President Trump used to live-tweet the Oscars and you can probably guess how much he liked them
Super Bowl commercials: Top five best and worst
Watch all of the 2017 Super Bowl commercials
Check out the latest movie reviews from Michael Phillips and the Chicago Tribune.
Check out reviews for all new music releases from Tribune music critic Greg Kot.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.