Hind’s Hall one month on: What impact has Macklemore’s pro-Palestine track had?

American rapper previewed the track on Instagram on May 6, and this week it has climbed the Billboard charts

Macklemore released Hind's Hall in early May in support of Palestine. Photo: Macklemore
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Macklemore has long spoken out about social justice issues through his music. Since the Israel-Gaza conflict intensified in late 2023, the American rapper has continued to express his opinions, openly supporting Gaza and Palestinians.

While many Arab artists have released tracks with similar sentiments, musicians in the West haven't spoken out so readily.

On May 7, the rapper, 40, took to Instagram to upload his latest single. Hind's Hall – the track is named in honour of a six-year-old girl killed in Gaza after waiting days for aid – samples Fairouz's Ana La Habibi and calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In the track, Macklemore expresses solidarity with campus protesters in the United States and his views on the politicians involved in the geopolitical conflict.

Over the past few weeks, more celebrities have been speaking out about the conflict and there has been a reaction on social media. A month on from the Macklemore track being released, it has played its part in a ripple effect around the world.

Social media impact

At the time of writing, the video on Macklemore's Instagram account has had 173 million views and 3.3 million likes. That is likely to make the reel one of the most viewed on the platform.

Macklemore's video pulls together clips from Gaza and images of protests worldwide. Lyrics flash up between shots, including “Seen the rubble, the buildings, the mothers and the children,” and “the music industry's quiet, complicit in their platform of silence”.

It was released at a time when celebrities were under fire for not speaking out about the conflict. On the day the video was released, celebrities were attending the Met Gala in New York, an evening big on extravagance. The same day, Israel began its offensive against Rafah, previously a dedicated safe zone.

Scrolling through the images of death and destruction alongside fanciful glamour, social media users reacted by starting the digital guillotine movement – or digitine movement.

It called for all celebrities who hadn't spoken out about the conflict – there was a sharp focus on those in attendance at the Met Gala – to be blocked, reducing their ability to make money from their platforms.

“There's a massive #Blockout2024 taking place where we block every celebrity that hasn't spoken up about Palestine or called for a ceasefire. It's a global movement,” Bahraini poet Karim Wafa Al Hussaini wrote on X.

“They live off of our attention. If they don't have any, they cease to exert their influence.”

While celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift are reported to have lost 377,000 and 1 million followers in May, respectively, Macklemore followers grew substantially. Three days after Hind's Hall was previewed on Instagram, he gained more than 500,00 followers on the platform, reaching 5.7 million on June 2. The artist now has 6.5 million followers.

Chart success and streaming impact

Hind's Hall was released on streaming platforms on May 11 and, according to reports this week, has made headway in the US charts. According to Billboard Magazine, the two-minute, 28-second track is No 2 in the Rap Digital Song Sales Charts and No 7 in the all-genre Digital Song Sales Charts.

According to Spotify, at the time of writing, the track has had more than 18 million streams. Alongside the original release on social media, Macklemore declared that all streaming profits would go towards UNRWA, a charity that continues to provide life-saving psychosocial support services in Gaza.

There have been calls made for pro-Palestine social media users to stream the track on repeat while they sleep.

One user, Unfair-Entry8851, wrote: “I figured out today that you can leave this song on repeat all night on Spotify on no volume.

“All the proceeds for this song go to UNRWA. Each listen gives $0.003-$0.005 to the artist. Eight hours of sleep streaming this is a buck + a night. I know it's not a lot but if all of us do it, it adds up.”

A representative from UNRWA told The National that Macklemore made an upfront donation of $100,000 to UNRWA USA and hasn't confirmed the exact funds raised by Hind's Hall.

Has it had a ripple effect?

It's hard to determine the impact one song alone can have on celebrities who have a platform to speak up against the war in Gaza. While many have been criticised for staying silent, a considerable number of artists have been speaking out for months. Fifty came together in May to release a digital album titled Merciless Accelerating Rhythms – Artists United for a Free Palestine. Musician The Weeknd, who has a history of donating to global causes, has also shown support by donating $2 million to provide food aid for people in Gaza.

However, it does feel like the tide has turned one month on. Since the release of Macklemore's track and the Met Gala backlash that led to the blockage of celebrities, more western artists – who until then had avoided the subject on social media – have been speaking out.

Lizzo, for example, received mixed reviews after creating a video on May 9 asking followers to help raise funds to support doctors in Palestine.

While some followers were happy to see her speak out, others criticised her timing after her name appeared on the blockout list days before. Others said she should pay the whole lot rather than asking her followers to donate.

Meanwhile, the digitine movement has come under fire since it became clear that human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has been working hard behind the scenes to make an impact. It was revealed to her critics that she was one of the experts consulted on ICC warrants against Israel. The takeaway is that there is more happening away from the spotlight that social media users may not know about.

There was another opportunity for celebrities to comment last week when an Israeli army operation in Rafah killed dozens of displaced Palestinians days after the International Court of Justice told Israel to stand down in southern Gaza.

Calling attention to the bloodshed, more than 40 million Instagram users shared a post titled All Eyes on Rafah.

While celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, who have come out in support for Palestine before, shared the picture, others remained silent.

Many celebrities will have their reasons for using their social media platforms in the way as they see fit, but Macklemore's use of his accounts demonstrates that there is much to be gained from standing up for what you believe.

Updated: June 05, 2024, 12:00 PM