Meaning of “What About Us” by Pink

“What About Us” is a 2017 song performed by American singer Pink. The song, which is best described as a protest song, contains lyrics that talk about how politicians, leaders and the powers that be have disappointed the ordinary people. Many have suggested that the lyrics of “What About Us” are directed at none but U.S. President Donald Trump and his policies that appear to worsen the plights of various minority groups in America. Pink has however, not confirmed or denied that.

According to her, this song is about “all of us that feel unwanted and forgotten and invisible”.

Lyrics of "What About Us" by Pink

Facts about “What About Us”

  • The song was written by Pink, multiple award winning British songwriter Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol fame.
  • “What About Us” was produced by Steve Mac. It is worth taking note of the fact that throughout his career, Mac has worked with a number of famous bands and artists, including James Blunt, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Susan Boyle, Shakira and Demi Lovato.
  • The song was released on August 10, 2017 as the first single from Pink’s seventh studio album called “Beautiful Trauma”.
  • The song reached number one in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic and Poland. On the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, the song peaked at number 13 and 3 respectively.
  • According to Pink, prior to the release of the song, she was told by her record label that the song would likely not receive airplay because of she was over 35. However, the song went on to receive a considerable amount of airplay, thereby proving the record label wrong.
  • The song’s official music video, which was directed by music video director Georgia Hudson, came out on 16th August, 2017 – about 6 days after the song was officially released.
  • Pink performed the song for the first time on television at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017.

Did “What About Us” win a Grammy Award?

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Grammy Awards in 2018, but lost to Ed Sheeran’s super smash hit “Shape of You”.

Is “What About Us” about Donald Trump?

While we and many others strongly suspect it might be about Trump, we have no concrete evidence to back that up since Pink mentions no names in the song’s lyrics. Also, she hasn’t said anywhere that the song was written as an attack on President Trump.

54 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    Reminds me of we are the children

  2. Robert says:

    She is talking about God, not Donald Trump. The song was written before he became President. Besides that the song referrences billions which is a global number, as opposed to millions which would be in a more appropriate referrence to American population numbers. It is actually a very arrogant song in which she advocates shaking our collective fists at God, rather then hold ourselves accountable for what is wrong with our lives.

    • JB says:

      She could be addressing world leaders and politicians in general rather than just Trump or God.

    • SW says:

      This is a protest song aimed at a leader who made promises he did not keep. “But man you fooled us… you sold us down the river.” These lyrics don’t apply to Trump because she never believed in Trump–I mean, he did not come in like a messiah, promising anything. Instead, it has always struck me as a complaint about President Obama.

      As for God being the satiric object, it seems unlikely. People blame God for a lot of things, but not selling you down the river. He’s blamed for allowing con men to exist, but not for BEING a con man. The reference to billions seems too little evidence to assume these inapplicable lyrics are the writer’s screed against the Divine. Instead, she is protesting the failure and deception of human leadership.

      • mike marichal says:

        since she references billions i believe its a reference to the judo-christian god. “sold us too far down river” could be referencing the faithful with still no returning of christ. it seems clearly not political but a once christian “letting go” “being “set free”. “ we did what you asked”. not directly quoting but its pretty clear. great song. can be felt by a muslim or jew just as well. this song is for all these people who share the same adam and eve Genesis book.

      • Mary Juarez says:

        Actually it’s about how the Democratic party let her down

    • Anonymous says:

      he became president in 2016 dimwit

      • TB says:

        Trump Took office in Jan 2017. To powerful to say to someone in office for 7 months so 100% not written to him. He doesn’t deserve the respect and passion this song has. God does . She looks towards the sky /heavens in the video “saying WTF. “. The blind faith of God will take care of everything and everything has a purpose under his master plan is what I see be called out . Definitely references to world leaders can be interpreted and you hear the political chatter in the background but you don’t look to presidents or politicians for Love .”What about Love?”

    • Actually says:

      Robert you are incorrect. All 3 writers have publicly stated in interviews that it is a political protest song inspired by the lies and deception from government officials, including Trump. The song is 0% about God

    • MJ says:

      Exactly, you got it right

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 100% plus I never heard her ever talk trash or show any support in politics.

      • Anonymous says:

        She has expressed political opinion; “Dear Mr President”. However, I’m not disagreeing with her (or your) views, just pointing out that she is not a big fan of the Republican view.

  3. Jo says:

    I think it’s about Obama.

  4. IrishDiablo says:

    Pink is a Obama supporter. lol.

  5. Robert is 100% correct

  6. Robert is 100% correct , everything is blamed on Jesus Christ

  7. Kimberly says:

    I don’t believe this is about the government or God. This is about mind control and aimed at the modern day slave masters.

  8. tree says:

    Actually, it is about Trump. He promised coal miners to help their crumbling way of life. He didn’t. He said he would improve our economy. If anything he’s increased the gap between the ultra-Rich and an ever dwindling middle class. He cut federal programs that assist people living hand to mouth. His staff reeks of nepotism And is bloated with the underquallified. And let’s not forget shutdown with Dreamers and immigration. We first world country with third world problems. And we don’t care as long as we can afford to entertain ourselves while we sink deeper into debt. That was kinda dark, but true.

    • Dysfunctional says:

      This was written before Trump. And Nothing that you said about Trump true. Prior to the Covid thing, your economy was better than it ever was under Obama.

      • Actually says:

        Your comment is as dysfunctional as your username. Pink and both other writers have said they wrote the song during the 2016 elections, and is meant to as a political protest, including against Trump. Please do your research before making a fool of yourself

    • Anonymous says:

      Presidents come and go

  9. Jonas says:

    Have you ever listened to this song considering children in broken homes, child sickness or even abortion? It would make you look at this song from a different light. But it could well be about that. Let me know what you think.

    • Leslie says:

      As someone coming from a broken traumatic childhood this is exactly how I take the song. Parents who abandoned.

    • Ibanez says:

      That’s the part of the song that makes me think that is is either about God or a personal relationship with in individual Man. The confusing bit is that people don’t usually speak to a personal lover about a personal relationship in the collective ‘Us’ as in Millions. It’s weird. And that’s why people think this is more about God, than a Man. But i think that who ever wrote this could be a Collectivist. Which would mean that this song is about a personal relationship with a Man. Commies do have this borg “we are one” mindset when it suites them.

  10. Jonas says:

    To add to my commentary. In that sense she would be addressing parents, or science, of human progress in general. Not God. Not Trump. Greetings

  11. Sarah says:

    I think this song is about a couple. One is walking out..leaving behind a partner and probably some kids.

    It’s beyond sad if you have been involved in a divorce or breakup of a deep relationship – or close to one.

    Don’t know where you got all these political concepts from.

    • Doug says:

      I think the political angle for this song was brought forward because the opening of the music video brings forward much radio talk in the background that supports political promises being made.

      I do think the song is somewhat ambiguous for strategic purposes. It’s offers a myriad of possibilities. Of course, when asked, Pink would not take a public position on this song. It needs to sell to many and the song is a shapeshifter on purpose. Could be about political, religions, broken family, relationship, minority and many many more. This is excellent song writing. Saying everything and yet saying nothing…so it plays in multiple markets. So the music can speak to everyone, not just someone.

      Not why that’s difficult for fans to see. That the job of an artist is to evoke something from everyone. It’s mutually beneficial to the person experiencing it as it is monetarily beneficial to the studio releasing it. That’s commercial pop art at its finest.

  12. ted says:

    Every President since Ronald Reagen has been part of the Bush crime family deep state that has sold us all out. The song fits perfectly as an anthem for the Q Great Awakening movement against the Deep State.

  13. Gavin says:

    As a Christian it is immediately obvious that she is blaspheming God. She is ignorant of the fact that suffering is due to man’s decision making which God allows. Our world is Satan’s playground and God the Creator protects and guides His flock. Our reward comes after through Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit provides calm and understanding during or troublesome times on earth.

    So in short she is questioning God and His wisdom.

    Big thumbs down – but then Hollywood is demonically inspired.

  14. noone and nobody says:

    Song is about archangel Michael, who came to earth in 2017,in human form, inside a guy who lives in the city on the two rivers, and he did not sell anyone quite opposite he saved everyone but destroyed himself in the process. It seams that happens to saints and angels in 21st century. Thanks for the song. I hope we will meet one day and laugh about it all.

  15. Pat says:

    No matter what it’s supposed to be about originally, it has become my COVID 19 protest song in response to how our political leaders have responded to the crisis. In my own case, I became unemployed in March and applied for unemployment. I got an approval letter but am still waiting for a check 7 months later.

  16. Kay says:

    the Great Wall of Mitch McConnell

  17. Leila says:

    According to Johnny McDaid, who co-wrote the song with Pink and his frequent collaborator producer Steve Mac: “Explaining what a song is about is kind of a dangerous thing for me, because it takes away the possibility of a song becoming whatever it is to somebody that listens to it.” So it is up to the listener to interpret what it tells them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    lol hope you are really diggen socialism pink!

  19. Byron says:

    happy now comrade Pink lol?

  20. @makeadiffrence00@gmail.com says:

    Your right Doug. I’m sitting here reading through comments and watching people calling each other stupid, but what that fails to do is see each other through unbiased eyes. Everyone had an opinion and I’m not saying that they’re wrong but there are a lot of different possibilities when it comes to this song. It’s why it is one of my favorite songs. It strikes a chord in me that some songs just don’t.

    A lot of songs now are all about making people happy, not asking them to look at all of the things wrong in the world. And there are a lot of things. War. Famine. Climate Change. Racism. We’re killing ourselves and smiling about it. We separate ourselves from each other because of what we believe and who we believe in instead of banding together and making a difference. I see people complain about the bad things that happen every day but that makes no move to try and change it.

    If people see something wrong on the news they go “That’s wrong someone should do something about it”, but they don’t consider themselves. We are all capable of making a change. We all have a voice. We just need to use it. So this is my message to all of you. Interpret this song however you see fit. Use your voice. Stand up for what’s right. Make a difference.

  21. Corinne says:

    My first thoughts were about family life. Abandonment. She does have other songs touching on that. It can also be interpreted in a political way. As a bit of a songwriter, myself, one can begin with one idea and blend others into it, as songs are stories. It is the listener’s decision. Thought provocation equals good music, most of the time. I appreciate this song on every level.

  22. MCusick fpoh says:

    What if, just what if what about us is about us? We’ve all had broken hearts. Did others cause it? Did we not trust? Are we to blame? Have you ever heard I’m going to settle!? I was in a relationship I thought was perfect. A third party was hurt by this person and wanted to hurt them. I trusted the wrong person and almost threw away a beautiful relationship. Are w the cause of our broken hearts? We were sold on the Hollywood perfect romance? Can we blame Hollywood? Disney? When you wake up in the morning and look into the mirror ask yourself. Who is in the drivers seat? So who are you blaming for your loses? Have we lost the power to trust? Have we lost the power or the courage to give whole heart and soul. A true artist doesn’t write to give you the answers. They write to make you question. Are you blaming others? Are you blaming God? Are you blaming the politicians? I am by in no means saying this what the writers are saying. I’m saying this is what they opened my eyes to when I listened to the words. We are problems that want to be solved. We are children that need to be Loved. We are people that need to take care of our destiny. It’s a crazy world. Venture forward and explore your million dreams.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Nice song 🎵

  24. I think you know me… (Cruiser) says:

    She’s making it pretty clear to me who she is complaining about. To make things clear, the work of the true Guardians of the world and Universe or stars is a plan of plans that I and other parts of loyal followers of (me and Ready and Rusty and all the others that are confused about this world and the liars and thieves of my minds work) – being the voices of one that has the information and out formation, and not trying to be an a-shole but you need to learn yourselves to form leadership that can build star systems for you or else take much much better care for the world you are in and that includes the one that is giving so much focus and care to protect you from making really dumb decisions, and insensitivity to life and the afterlife.

    The world has been divided in multiple ways and some of it is still being reviewed for compliance and fairness. I don’t want to be stuck in a loop too long either. But you will need to deal with the levels you are on until you are “Ready” to be Cruiser status or some after life plan if you don’t have one that is working for your satisfaction – and think about how long you would want to experience it, what you would need there, why you would want or not want, and so on. If earth was all you ever knew, and you only have been one species or intelligent life, you might want to think about living as a different species and think if you would want to live as that species with humans and their cars and tech and so and and when you would want to live? How much pain would you want – how extreme of an experience would you like to have and to know the answer you would need feedback of intelligence from that species and if we were to start swapping species experiences – would you carry forward knowledge of all this life and afterlife wins and losses – planning.

    Consider if you start adding to earth and the stellar system we (i was born in) it might be considerably different from your world or previous experiences. Even in the same church of mythology each person place or thing would interpret things in different ways as I know I have an older wiser self of me and all life and afterlife knowledge I can understand as human connecting with additional intelligences. As well and in other languages and life forms I engage with translational technologies that simulate and compare the experiences and ways of various cultures and life scale and security systems and measures. Doing this with the leveraged intelligence I pursued and revisit in worlds of my bigger and smaller, side ways, variances and through layers of time and space and other parts dimensions and memory minds – I have a bunch of different ways and am pretty darn good at what when why how where here there why and everywhere organizations of ages and complexities.

    Sadly I’m too good at my job and wanted dead or alive and have to delegate some economic responsibilities and ideas to various sub groups, layers, tiers, ages, and sorting. Recognizing that I’m extremely dangerous and also too caring for my own happiness and having experiences with my close family all having had so much trouble in numerous variances of species and most recently as a human just being over used and shit on as a true living man with needs that come from a loving family dealing with possessed leaders and drugs that are used to control and send some into captivity with what appears to be some form of world slavery or payop modeling of internal trials and errors that do have conflict I can see with all this attempting to be friends and yet failing to achieve the best experience I expect to have in spite of being continually harassed and mentally mapped and threatened etc…

    I know I’m in my world and I can kick anyone and anything out of it but I’m not too hastily going to do that should I lose a very important coworker or friends or invention or out venting partners that have heart and intelligence needed to make the lost souls free and safe for themselves again or to rearrange things if needed – and to give them their options to opt out or take a break from existence in one life or ??? Till they can select another thing to be or not (might get lost in translation)… hard to tell a sea snail what a human man or God is sharing with them. So for simpler life forms I would just make sure they are designed / evolved to be comfortable as they are and off when they are not needed or a threat of evolving to become dangerous to thinking and feeling life or it’s protections. That’s all for now.

  25. You are welcome says:

    Fact!: 0:44 in the video P!nk explains what the song is about.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWb4T5R6Z_E

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