Billy Joel Dons Star of David Onstage, Says ‘Goodbye’ to Ousted Trump Officials
Billy Joel joined the fray of artists publicly opposing both the Neo-Nazi movement and the Trump administration last night during a performance at Madison Square Garden.
As you can see in the video above, Joel took the stage for the encore of his show wearing a large, yellow Star of David on his jacket breast and another on his back. He went on to display images of recently ousted White House officials on screen, while performing Scandal's 1982 hit "Goodbye to You."
The Long Island native was born to two Jewish parents but has described himself as a cultural Jew but a practicing atheist. “I grew up in a neighborhood of mostly Italian, Irish and Polish. Everybody went to mass," he told Billboard in 2014. "My mom decided I would get religion when I was 11, and she took me to a Protestant church. Then I got baptized.”
In the past, Joel has worn a small, six-pointed sheriff's badge on his lapel, an emblem which has been mistaken for a Star of David. It is instead, however, a nod to the Beatles, who wore similar badges during their Shea Stadium performance in 1965.
This time, in an apparent response to anti-Semitic activity including recent events in Charlottesville, Va., Joel donned the actual stars at last night's show – evoking imagery of the Holocaust. During the genocide, which killed six million Jews, those of any Jewish descent were forced to wear yellow Stars of David on their arms to identify themselves.
In a Rolling Stone interview in June, Joel said he tries to "stay out of politics. ... I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think," but he remains "flabbergasted" that Trump was elected, which proves "all kinds of weird s--- can happen."
Patty Smyth, the former frontwoman for Scandal, joined Joel to perform "Goodbye to You." Among the former administration officials featured on screen were ex-strategic adviser Steve Bannon, ex-press secretary Sean Spicer and ex-communications adviser Anthony Scaramucci, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Social media reviews of his political statements were mixed. Some called Joel a "true hero" and his actions "epic and brave," while others complained he had "lost his mind." However, Joel's ex-wife Christie Brinkley and his daughter Alexa Ray Joel were both in the audience, and fully support Joel.
And on the day of the Solar Eclipse a yellow star appeared on the jacket of another kind of star with a clinched fist that seemed to be gripping painful, no excruciating, memories of loved ones who wore that star to their death. May that star also remind you today of the gold stars pinned to the jackets of soldiers for their bravery and valor for fighting an evil so hideous even the gold stars in the sky were afraid to shine. Thank you Billy for reminding people what was ...so it may never ever be again. My darling @alexarayjoel another reason to be proud of your Pop. Photo @myrnasuarezphoto #historyteacher #billyjoel #msg #wealreadyfoughtthiswar #wedidntstarthisfirebutwewillputitout! #nohate
"On the day of the solar eclipse, a yellow star appeared on the jacket of another kind of star with a clinched fist that seemed to be gripping painful – no excruciating – memories of loved ones who wore that star to their death," Brinkley wrote in an Instagram post. "May that star also remind you today of the gold stars pinned to the jackets of soldiers for their bravery and valor for fighting an evil so hideous even the gold stars in the sky were afraid to shine. Thank you, Billy, for reminding people what was – so it may never ever be again."
Joel's daughter Alexa Ray, also a musician, wrote "Now, this is how you do it. That's my pop!!! Proud Jewish New Yorker through and through!!!!! Represent! Stand strong!"
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