There were signs and chants at Saturday’s historic Women’s March on Washington, but one performance had a chorus and a verse.
Filmmaker Alma Har’el happened upon a group of women—a flash mob led by Los Angeles singer-songwriter MILCK—harmonizing in song. She posted the performance to Facebook, and the video now has more than 10 million views.
The song is “Quiet” and Connie Lim, also known as MILCK, says the meeting was fate.
“She was lost, and I was lost with the choir,” Lim explains. “And I was like, you know what, whatever, let’s just sing here. And that’s the take that she took.
“I can’t help but believe in the universe conspiring with us.”
The chorus of the song is now a hashtag, and since Saturday Lim says she’s been flooded with requests for the a capella arrangement performed at the march. Lim also plans on doing a tutorial video to help people in other parts of the country—and world—be part of this new movement.
The video for “Quiet” was released last Monday. In the description, Lim writes: “As a survivor of anorexia, abuse, and depression, I can say that I have let the overwhelming pressures of filling media/society’s expectations of ‘how a woman should be’ overwhelm and silence my inner voices—without even realizing I was doing it.”Lim says she wrote the song a year ago, when she was looking for something that “conveys that reaction I want to have when someone oppresses me, or when someone objectifies me, or when someone judges me off my race before even speaking to me. How can I channel that rage and that pain?”
She adds that there was interest in the song and her as an artist, but she pushed back against suggestions that she change her image and name, “so that I could fit what a corporation wanted.” The song was unreleased, but then the election happened and “Quiet” took on even more resonance.
Lim says prep for the Women’s March started in December, and she sent out emails to singers asking if they’d be interested in collaborating. But as many participants took off for winter break she worried that they wouldn’t get to rehearse, beyond some Skype sessions.
On the Thursday before the march, some of the singers were able to rehearse together, but the Saturday performance was still a pretty raw run. However, Lim says it turned out to be “effortless.”
The song has gotten other women to open up and tell their stories, via the website and messages to Lim. People in Belgium and Australia have contacted her. Middle school choirs have reached out about using the song—with some tweaks to the lyrics—so Lim is writing a “kid-friendly” version.
“I think there’s an opportunity there to do further unifying,” Lim says. “If everyone’s singing the same song, there’s an art project in there… Once people start learning the song, we can organize and do something cool together, all over the world.”