In 2008, minutes after stepping down from the podium that delivered her concession to then Chicago Senator, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton made her way through the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. to the sounds of Sister Sledge’s “We are Family.”
The message, deliberate or not, reminded the Democratic Party that they were stronger together.
This wasn’t the first time Sister Sledge provided tunes for the soundtrack of a hard-fought campaign, and it wouldn’t be the last. This year, the sisters, most famous for their 1979 hit, decided to lend their voices to the #HillaryforAmerica campaign, showing support for the woman who once jumped on stage with them during a performance at the White House Christmas party.
In a recent interview with group member Joni Sledge, she said, “I was watching the television when she made the announcement that she would be the Democratic representative and I just looked at her and thought, ‘I can’t imagine what this woman has gone through to get to this position.’ Being a woman in business we must go through so much. Just everything she’s done in her 30-year history in politics, for her to do that, I was just overwhelmed. It made me feel so good that I called her agent and just said we will do whatever it takes to help her get in there.”
For the sisters who once performed for Pope Francis and two First Families, Hillary Clinton’s magnificent fete was one they couldn’t ignore. Prior to the Republican Party declaring their candidate, the group knew they wanted to help, but realized how important it was once Donald Trump became the nominee.
“I’m really disappointed in the Republican nomination. We wanted Hillary before we saw what Trump was made of, but after that we felt we really needed to make sure she got in there,” Joni told ESSENCE.
Beyond the banter of scandalous e-mail exchanges, Benghazi, and alleged “nasty woman” antics meant to derail her historic campaign, the sisters say, “We just think it’s time for a woman in the white house and we have such a respect for her.” Joni Sledge went on to say, “She is a WAMOW.”
An acronym the sisters cleverly originated that stands for Women Are the Music of the World. It’s also the title of their new song that’s being released later this year.
“We’ve always called people WAMOW’s. A WAMOW is a woman with strength a woman who understands her beauty from the inside out. Who's proud and encouraging of her own influence. A woman that’s bold. And Hillary Clinton definitely is.”
In addition to recognizing Clinton as bold leader, the music group also believes in her stance.
“She has given us a whole lot in the way of education and healthcare reform. And as women, we have a different perspective on life, on war, on diplomacy and it takes a tough cookie to be president of the US and deal with the rest of the world. She has the elements of motherhood and the elements of being a woman in terms of compassion but at the same time she has the tough, hard core business acumen and education and vision.”
There’s no doubt Clinton has proven herself to be a “tough cookie.” Both Donald Trump and President Barack Obama have commended her for her strong willpower. In his address to the Democratic National Convention, Obama said about his 2008 campaign, “Every time I thought I might have that race won, Hillary just came back stronger.” And during the second presidential debate this October, Trump remarked about Clinton, “She doesn’t give up. I respect that. She’s a fighter.”
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The fight is what Sister Sledge finds most remarkable about the 2016 presidential nominee, saying, “She has been torn down so much and she keeps standing. It’s indicative of what it takes to be a world leader. You’re going to get hit in every direction and I see her standing strong.”
It’s also a quality that the iconic music group seems to share. Although Sister Sledge first made a name for themselves in the 1970’s, they have a new music project being released this year, are setting out on a European tour this November, and still lend their name and talents to organizations around the world. One of the organizations they are most passionate about is ActionAid, but their greater focus is on human trafficking.
“I remember being a part of an event that ActionAid invited me to and they had a woman who spoke about what she had to go through and where she had risen to. She was a victim of sexual assault and poverty and became a pillar in her community and helped her community to become strong. It was a remarkable story. We do a lot of charity in this field because we want to obliterate human trafficking,” said Joni.
Modern Day Slavery is a cause that the former Secretary of State is also passionate about. In 2010, Clinton wrote an Op-Ed entitled “An End to Human Trafficking” and last April she laid out her plan on medium.com. This July, human trafficking victim, Ima Mutal, applauded Clinton’s efforts, saying, “Before human trafficking began to capture our attention, before there were laws, Hillary Clinton was fighting to end modern slavery.”
The compassion and sensitivity felt by Mutal is part of the reason why the sisters feel Hillary Clinton is the best person to be the country’s 46th President.
Although the music group will be taking off to the UK before Election Day, they made sure to cast their vote for Hillary early, re-iterating, “It’s time for a woman in the White House. It’s time for Hillary Clinton because she is qualified. More qualified than anyone I know to quote Barack Obama, and I believe that she will continue the work that Obama did while bringing a new sensitivity to all decision making.”