Light My Way: Joshua Tree 2017 (Spoilers)

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-05-19)

Warning, spoilers ahead for the U2 Joshua Tree 2017 Tour!

One of the visual pieces that accompanies the tour is a set of photographs of women which play on the backdrop while U2 perform “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”. The women come from a wide range of ages, and backgrounds, but most are recognized as playing a role in human rights, and human rights throughout the ages. Every show those pictured have changed slightly. In Vancouver there were a number of famous Canadian women who would be dropped from the piece as the tour moved to the USA.

After the Vancouver show, musican Joni Mitchell, politicians Chrystia Freeland and Agnes Campbell Macphail were dropped from the screens. Both were pictured only in Vancouver. In Seattle, they were replaced with Frédérique Petrides, Melinda Gates, and Michelle Obama.

After the Seattle show further changes were made, and Caitlin Moran was dropped and replaced with Catherine Mayer. Lena Dunham’s picture once was next to Lagarde’s was moved later into the song to allow room for Eunice Kennedy Shriver to be added to the screens in Santa Clara. At the show in Santa Clara, it was mispelled as Kenndey, but this was corrected for the performance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This move of Dunham’s photo caused Mary Robinson to be removed from the women featured on the screen, and her last appearance was in the Seattle show.

Other changes for the first show in Pasadena included the addition of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sandra Day O’Connor. Sandra Day O’Connor takes Michelle Obama’s place, and Michelle Obama now appears earlier in the song, we believe, now replacing Emma Goldman. Hilary Clinton replaces Victoria Woodhull in the screen footage. As well, k.d. Lang has now been replaced by Marsha P. Johnson. The second show in Pasadena used identical footage to the first show in Pasadena, and it was the first time that there were no changes made in the screen.

In Houston, additional women were shown after Lena Dunham, who had been the last woman shown at the Pasadena shows. This new set of screens introduced Madeleine Albright, Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Ann Richards (spelled incorrectly as Anne Richards) to the screens, all for the first time. These are now the last individual women seen on the screens. No one was removed to add these four to the screens.

The show continues to change this piece, and we will continue to track it as closely as possible.

Below you will find a list of the women featured to date, including a short biography of some of the accomplishments of these women, as well as information about when they were born, and if they are still with us. Beside each name you will find a list of what shows the face appeared at, V=Vancouver, S=Seattle, SC=Santa Clara, P1=Pasadena 1, P2=Pasadena 2, H=Houston. We will continue to update the list as this piece of the show continues to grow and change. Many thanks to Tim C for having the same idea at the same time.

Soujourner Truth (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,H)
Born Isabella Baumfree, she was an African-American women’s rights activist, born in 1797 and died in 1883.

Angela Davis (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
She is a political activist, and author. She was an activist and radical as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther movement. Davis was born in 1944.

bell hooks (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,H)
This is the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins, and is an author, feminist and activist. She was born in 1952.

Ieshia Evans (*V,*S,*SC, P1,*P2,H)
An African-American woman from Pennsylvania, that was photographed being arrested by police during protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016 in a photograph that went viral.

Rosa Parks (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Parks refused to give up her seat in the coloured section on a bus to a white passenger in 1955, and was arrested for civil disobedience. Her defiance became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. Parks was born in 1913, and died in 2005.

Connie Mudenda (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Mudenda is a (RED) Ambassador and an HIV-positive AIDS activist. Connie lost all three of her children to AIDS, but has since had a daughter who was born HIV free in 2012. She was born in 1970.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Sirleaf is a politician in Liberia, and is currently serving as president of that country. She is the first woman to be elected to a head of state position in Africa. She was born in 1938.

Wangari Maathai (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Matthai is a political activist, environmentalist, and Nobel laureate. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement. She was born in 1940, and died in 2011.

Emma Goldman (*V,*S,*SC)
Goldman was a political activist and writer, born in Russia but later emigrated to the United States, and later Canada. She developed ways of bringing gender politics into Anarchy. Goldman lived from 1869 – 1940.

Emma Goldman has been removed from the screens, and has been replaced by Michelle Obama as of the first Pasadena show. Prior to this Michelle Obama appeared later in the song.

Alice Walker (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,H)
Walker is a novelist, poet, and activist. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple. She was born in 1944.

Maya Angelou (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Maya Angelou is the pen name for Marguerite Johnson, who lived from 1928 – 2014. She was a writer who focused on autobiographies and poetry.

Suffragettes (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Suffragettes were members of women’s organizations in the late 19th century who were advocating for the vote to be extended to women. The movement reached through the UK, USA, Canada and other countries.

Emily Wilding Davison (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Davison was a Suffragette who was part of the movement to bring the vote to women in the UK in the early 20th century, and was known for extreme tactics, and was arrested on nine different occasions. Davison lived from 1872 – 1913.

Edith Margaret Garrud (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Garrud was a martial arts instructor, and was one of the first females acting as such in the Western World. She was a trainer of the Bodyguard unit in one of the Suffragette groups in the UK. Garrud lived from 1872-1971.

Match Girls Strike (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,H)
The Match Girls Strike in 1888 was a strike in London in 1888 where women and teenage girls went on strike to protest poor working conditions in a match factory in London.

Sari Squad (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
The Sari Squad were a group of women, who helped to defend multicultural gatherings in London in the 1980s. They also got involved in political activism.

Pussy Riot (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Pussy Riot is a punk rock group from Russia, who have staged numerous performances where they would promote themes such as feminism, LGBT rights, and would oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Women of Iceland (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
In 1975 to demonstrate that women were indispensable for Iceland’s economy, the women went on strike for the day. 90 percent of women in that country did not go to their paid jobs, and further, there was no housework or child-rearing for the day. The strike was held in International Women’s Year.

Aphra Behn (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,H)
Behn was a play write and poet, and was one of the first English women to make a living by writing. She also worked as a spy for Charles II. Behn lived from 1640 – 1689.

Virginia Woolf (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,H)
Woolf was an English writer in the 20th century. She was a significant figure in London literary society. Woolf lived from 1882 – 1941.

Simone de Beauvoir (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,H)
A French writer, activist and feminist, de Beauvoir wrote about women’s oppression and feminism. She lived from 1908 – 1986.

Caitlin Moran (*V,*S)
Moran is a Journalist in the UK, at The Times. She’s a supporter of the Women’s Equality Party and has written a book titled How to Be a Woman. Moran was born in 1975.

Moran’s picture was dropped after the Seattle concert, and was replaced with Catherine Mayer.

Catherine Mayer (*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Mayer is an American-born journalist, and the founder of the Women’s Equality Party in the UK in 2015, a political party that is campaigning for gender equality.

Mayer’s photo first showed up on the screens in Santa Clara, and was also present in the first show in Pasadena. Her photo replaced Caitlin Moran.

Opray Winfrey (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Oprah is a media figure, actress, and philanthropist, best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah was born in 1954.

Angela Merkel (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany, and a leading figure in the European Union. Merkel has a background as a chemist, but entered into politics in 1989. Merkel was born in 1954.

Christine Lagarde (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Lagarde is a French lawyer and a politician, and is currently the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She is the first woman to head the IMF. Lagarde was born in 1956.

Lena Dunham (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Dunham is an American actress, writer and director. She was born in 1986. She created the feminist publication Lenny Letter in 2015.

Although Lena Dunham’s positions on the screen was here early on the tour, with the addition of Eunice Kennedy Shriver in Santa Clara, Dunham’s image was moved to a position later in the song. In the first show in Pasadena it was the last image added to the screen.

Eunice Kenndey/Kennedy Shriver (*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Shriver is a member of the influential American political family, the Kennedys. Shriver worked with the US Justice Department, and later would lay the foundation for the Special Olympics Foundation and has been a longtime advocate for children’s health issues. She lived from 1921 to 2009. She was the sister of President John F. Kennedy.

Her name first appeared on the tour with the stop in Santa Clara. She is located now where Lena Dunham had been located in previous shows. Dunham has been moved to a later position in the screens. At the show in Santa Clara, Kennedy was spelled wrong on the screens appearing as “Kenndey” instead.

Rosetta Tharpe (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She was active in the 1930s and 1940s and was known for her gospel recordings, and she is counted as an inspiration by early rock ‘n’ roll musicians including Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. She lived from 1915 – 1973.

Joni Mitchell (*V)
Mitchell is a Canadian singer, songwriter and artist. She rose to popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, and had a string of hit albums throughout the years, still releasing new music in the 2000s. Mitchell was born in 1943.

Mitchell’s only appearance in the song was at the stop in Vancouver, BC, in her native Canada.

Patti Smith (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Smith is an American singer, writer, poet and artist. She came to popularity during the 1970s in the punk rock movement. Smith may be known among U2 fans by her song “People Have the Power” which was used to open concerts during the 2015 tour. Smith was born in 1946.

Poly Styrene (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Marianne Elliott-Said was better known by the stage name Poly Styrene, fronted the punk rock band X-Ray Spex, and later went on to have a solo career. She lived from 1957 – 2011.

Frédérique Petrides (*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Petrides was a Belgian-American conductor, well known for her skill with the violin. She founded the Orchestrette Classique in New York City, which was made up of women musicians, and she also published the newsletter Women in Music. Petrides lived from 1903 – 1983.

Petrides was first added to the song for the performance in Seattle and she did not appear in the Vancouver show.

Grace Jones (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Grace Jones was Jamaican born, and was a singer, writer, supermodel, and actress. She came to popularity during the 1977 disco era, and later moved into new wave. She was born in 1948.

Begum Rokeya (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Rokeya was a Bengali writer, social activist and a champion of women’s rights. She advocated that men and women should be treated equal in her writing. Rokeya lived from 1880 – 1932.

Nawal El Saadawi (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
El Saadawi is an Egyptian writer, physician, and psychiatrist, and she has written many books about women in Islam. She is the founder and president of the Arab Woman’s Solidarity Association, and the co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights. El Saadawi was born in 1931.

Saffiyah Khan (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Khan is a young woman of Pakistani and Bosnian descent who stepped up to help a woman wearing a hijab, when the woman was surrounded by members of the English Defense League. A photo of her standing up to these demonstrators in Birmingham went viral.

Malala Yousafzai (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Yousafzai is an activist from Pakistan for female education, and is the youngest ever Nobel laureate. In 2012, Malala was injured after a Taliban gunman attempted to murder her, and since recovering she has become a prominent education activist. She was born in 1997.

Khalida Popal (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Popal became the first female captain of the Afghan National Football team. At the time there were four women on the team. Popal faced threats, and has since retired, but now speaks out on sport as a vehicle to achieve gender equality.

Moms Mabley (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Moms Mabley is the stage name of Loretta Aiken, an American stand up comedian, once billed “The Funniest Woman in the World”. She would often tackle topics such as racism. She came out as a lesbian and was one of the first openly gay comedians. Aiken lived from 1894 to 1975.

Ruth Ellis (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Ellis was an African-American woman, who spent her life crusading for the LGBT and African American rights. She was a lesbian herself, and the Ruth Ellis Center is an organization that is dedicated to helping homeless LGBT youth and young adults. Ellis lived from 1899 – 2000.

k.d. Lang (*V,*S,SC)
Lang is a Canadian pop and country singer and songwriter. Lang came out as a lesbian in June 1992, and has championed LGBT rights causes since that time, including supporting many HIV / AIDS care and research projects. k.d. Lang was born in 1961.

k.d. Lang’s photo was replaced by one of Marsha P. Johnson, which was present for the first show in Pasadena.

Marsha P. Johnson (*P1,*P2,*H)
Marsha P. Johnson was an American drag performer, a sex worker, and a gay rights activist. She was a popular figure in New York City’s gay scene, and an AIDS activist with the organization, ACT UP. Johnson lived from 1945 – 1992.

Ellen Degeneres (*V,*S,SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Ellen is an American comedian, television host, writer and producer. She came out as a lesbian in 1997, and has been an active advocate for LGBT rights since that time. She is a member of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and she acts as a spokesperson for the Human Rights campaign’s Coming Out Project. Ellen was born in 1958.

Women’s Land Army (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
The WLA was a British civilian organization created during the First and Second World Wars to allow women to work in farming replacing men who were serving in the military. The women working in agriculture during the war were called Land Girls.

Women’s Army Corps (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
This was the women’s branch of the United States Army, and was created in 1942 during World War II. The Army Corps disbanded in 1978 and was integrated with male units from that point forward.

WASP Women Air Force Service Pilots (*V,*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
This was a military aviation organization, made up of women, employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during world war II. The organization was formed in 1943 from two groups that had been organized separate in 1942 during World War II.

Victoria Woodhull (*V,*S,*SC)
Woodhull was an American leader of the Women’s suffrage movement, campaigning for the right to vote by women. Woodhull is recognized as the first woman to run for President of the United States, but there are some questions as to the legitimacy of her participation. Woodhull lived between 1838 and 1927.

Woodhull has been replaced by an image of Hilary Rodham Clinton as of the first show in Pasadena.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: (*P1,*P2,*H)
Clinton is an American politician, who most recently was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election. She has served as the Secretary of State, the US Senator from New York, and First Lady of the United States. Clinton was born in 1947.

Chrystia Freeland (*V)
Freeland is a Canadian politician, writer, and journalist. She is currently serving as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and prior to that served as the Minister of International Trade for Canada. Freeland was born in 1968.

Freeland’s only appearance in the song was at the stop in Vancouver, BC, in her native Canada.

Mary Robinson (*V,*S)
Robinson is an Irish lawyer and politician, and served as the first female President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997. She then worked as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002. In 2004 Robinson received Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for her work promoting human rights. Robinson was born in 1944.

Agnes Campbell Macphail (*V)
Macphail was a Canadian educator and later politician. Macphail was the first woman to be elected to Canada’s Parliament. She also served as a member of the Provincial Parliament in the province of Ontario after leaving federal politics. Macphail lived between 1890 and 1954.

Macphail’s only appearance in the song was at the stop in Vancouver, BC, in her native Canada.

Melinda Gates (*S,*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Gates is an American philanthropist, and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates has degrees in computer science and economics, as well as an MBA. In December 2005, Melinda and Bill Gates were named by Time Magazine as Persons of the Year alongside Bono. Gates was born in 1964.

Melinda Gates was first added to the song for the performance in Seattle and she did not appear in Vancouver.

Sheryl Sandberg (*SC,*P1,*P2,*H)
Sandberg is an American executive, acting as COO of Facebook. She is also an activist and author, and founder of Leanin.Org. Sandberg was born in 1969.

Sandberg was first added to the song for the performance in Santa Clara and she did not appear in Vancouver.

Michelle Obama (*S,*SC,*P1,*P2)
Obama is an American lawyer and writer, and also served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Obama is an advocate for poverty awareness. Obama was born in 1964.

Obama was first added to the song for the performance in Seattle and she did not appear in Vancouver. As of the first show in Pasadena her image has been moved earlier in the song to make room for Sandra Day O’Connor.

Sandra Day O’Connor (*P1,*P2,*H)
O’Connor is the first woman to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA, and prior to that she was an elected official, a judge in Arizona, and served in the state Senate in Arizona. O’Connor was born in 1930.

Madeleine Albright (*H)
Albright is an American politician and diplomat and academic and served as the former Ambassador to the United Nations for the USA. She is the first woman in the USA to become Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. She also directed Georgetown University’s program on women in global politics in the 1980s. Albright was born in 1937.

Albright was first added to the screens in Houston, Texas.

Laura Bush (*H)
Bush is a Librarian and educator by education, and also served as the First Lady of Texas, and later as First Lady of the United States. As part of her time as First Lady she focused her attention on education, and early childhood development and she was honored by the United Nations and named the ambassador for the United Nations’ Decade of Literacy. Another area of focus was the health and well being of women, establishing the Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative. Bush was born in 1946.

Bush was first added to the screens when U2 played Houston, Texas. Bush was born in Texas.

Condoleezza Rice (*H)
Rice is an American politician, and diplomat. She was the second female Secretary of State, acted as National Security Advisor to President Bush, and after leaving politics became a professor of political science at Stanford University, as well as director for Stanford’s Global Center for Business and the Economy. She participates in the “Ban Bossy” campaign, as an advocate of leadership roles for females. Rice was born in 1954.

Rice was first added to the screens when U2 played Houston, Texas.

Ann Richards (*H)
Richards is an educator and politician. Richards is the first woman elected as governor of the state of Texas in her own right. Richards during her time as governor showed an interest in causes including equality and women’s rights. She was awarded the Texas NAACP Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions to Civil Rights among other honours. Richards lived between 1933 and 2006. She served as Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995.

Richards was first added to the screens when U2 played Houston, Texas. Her name was incorrectly spelled as “Anne” upon her introduction to the screens in Houston.

Some video footage can be seen in the following slow motion clip from the concert in Pasadena, CA, with images featuring Grace Jones, Frédérique Petrides, Patti Smith, and Poly Styrene:


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