Rina Sawayama Wants Us To “STFU!” And It’s Probably Best We Listen

The lead single off the London-based artist’s next album is a righteous tirade against microaggressions.

Burak Cingi/Getty

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This isn’t a usual Rina Sawayama track. Well, to say Sawayama has a “usual” track would be a disservice. The artist recently has leaned into the pop scene with tracks like “Cherry” and “Flicker,” but songs like nineties R&B/techno “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” show a history of variety and musical exploration. But still who could expect her new single “STFU” would be nu-metal?

“‘STFU!’ is a song about releasing the RAGE against microaggressions,” she wrote in a press release. “As a Japanese girl growing up in the West I dealt with an array of aggressors ranging from: sexual stereotypes…to people shouting Asian greetings down the street (nihao! Konnichiwa!), and finally to people doing ‘slit eyes’.”

And “RAGE” she channels. The track begins with an introduction more akin to the Halloween season—the video is a white man going through a rolodex of offense on a date with Sawayama—before she launches into a howl that propels the rest of the track. “How come you don’t expect me to get mad when I’m angry?” she sings as faceless screams decorate the background. “How come you don’t respect me? Expecting fantasies, leave our reality, why don’t you just sit down and…” Now enter the shut the fuck up’s.

Sawayama has been around for a few years and has even made an appearance on Mother Jones before. Previous tracks have explored a more bubblegum take on crushes and loves. But “STFU!” is a track for anyone who’s constantly had to deal with the never ending attack of microagressions. It’s a track that’s built to be blasted, and built to be screamed. It is nu-metal except, it’s not a white dude with dreds yelling this time. It’s Rina reclaiming her space and time, and inviting others to do the same.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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