HONOLULU, Hawaii — A popular Hawaiian recording artist turned a top-security dinner of Pacific Rim leaders hosted by President Barack Obama into a subtle protest with a song in support of the “Occupy” movement.
Makana, who goes by one name, was enlisted to play a luau, or Hawaiian feast, Saturday night for leaders assembled in Obama’s birthplace Honolulu for an annual summit that is formulating plans for a Pacific free-trade pact.
But in the midst of the dinner on the resort strip Waikiki Beach, he pulled open his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that read “Occupy with Aloha,” using the Hawaiian word whose various meanings include love and peace. He then sang a marathon version of his new song “We Are The Many.”
“I was pretty nervous. In fact I was terrified. I kept thinking ‘what are the consequences going to be?’” Makana, 33, told AFP.
“It was incredibly comical. I was terrified but also enjoying it,” he said.
As Makana sang, about 400 protesters including anti-globalization and native Hawaiian rights activists staged a protest march toward the dinner site but turned back after encountering the smothering security.