Challenging Convention and Changing the World: Taína Asili Visits The Grind


Alex Polinsky, Contributing Writer

Feminist. Rebel. Activist. These are a few words that have been used to describe musical artist Taína Asili. Born in Binghamton, New York, Asili is a Puerto Rican singer/songwriter who performs political “protest music.” Taína “y La Bande Rebelde” (Taína’s 7-person supporting band) were featured as #2 in the Huffington Post’s, “12 Freedom Fighting Bands to Get You Through the Trump Years”.


She has also participated in numerous social justice organizations and campaigns, most notably the “Rock Against the TPP Tour” and the “Women’s March on Washington” in 2017.


On Sunday, March 24, Taína Asili visited Clark University’s The Grind to perform and do a Q&A afterward. She played some of her popular songs, including “Freedom” and “No Es Mi Presidente”.


Asili serves on the board of directors for Soulfire Farms, a New York-based farming collective that seeks to dismantle racism and inequality in the food industry. SoulFire Farm was co-founded by two former Clark Students, Leah Penniman, and John Vitale-Wolff, who met on Clark’s campus, later married, and eventually founded SoulFire Farms in 2011.


Taína Asili’s history of activism is extensive. In addition to the aforementioned campaigns, she has been involved with Social Protest Movements such as Black Lives Matter, MeToo, and the New York State Prisoner Justice Network. She co-founded the New York State Prisoner Justice Network, which seeks to end American Mass Incarceration and secure freedom for political prisoners.


Before singing the song, “Sofrito” from her upcoming album, “Resiliencia”, Asili said that her activism is fueled by her heritage.


“We have to remember who we are and where we come from,” she stated, “ so we know where to go”.


She uses her art as a vehicle to speak out against social injustices. Asili said, “As long as oppression has existed, art has existed to provide resistance.” Asili stressed the importance of speaking out against those in power regardless of future repercussions.

After her anti-Trump song, “No Es Mi Presidente” was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2017, Asili received death-threats.


“I could brush off some of them [the threats], the really stupid ones,” Asili said during the Q&A session.“Stuff like, ‘Go back to Mexico’… people think that just because I talked about immigration, I’m from Mexico but I’m actually from Upstate New York,” she said.


“It was scary sometimes, but I take strength in amazing communities all around the world, such as the people in this room tonight.”