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Ani DiFranco Wants Us To Engage In ‘Revolutionary Love’


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Ani DiFranco's latest album, Revolutionary Love, explores the idea of approaching your adversaries with compassion.
Image credit: Daymon Gardner


At a time when the country seems more and more divided, it can be a lot to ask of a person to “love thy neighbor,” even when they don’t necessarily love you back. It takes an aggressive kind of love to start engaging, and that’s the idea that inspired the title track of Ani DiFranco’s newest record, Revolutionary Love. The phrase is also the name of a book by DiFranco’s good friend, activist Valerie Kaur, which encourages an understanding of one’s adversaries.

“She sort of gives it three faces: this love for self, love for others and love for your opponents,” DiFranco says. “I think, first of all, it means seeing no stranger. You know? It means, even with your opponents, to look into another’s face and say, you are part of me I will start from there. You’re a part of myself I do not know well enough. Valerie talks about looking for the wound in your opponent. They might be doing all kinds of bad actions, you know? They might be doing negative things, but to search within that for the wound in them and to find the courage in yourself to tend the wound.”

Ani DiFranco spoke with NPR’s Sarah McCammon about translating those ideas into her songwriting on Revolutionary Love, and how events like the storming of the U.S. Capitol can test the boundaries of a “turn the other cheek” philosophy. Hear more of the conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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