Stevie Wonder Boycott Still Shy of Artists' Support
The famous R&B singer and songwriter (Isn't She Lovely, Higher Ground and Superstition are just three of his more famous songs) is protesting the state's "Stand Your Ground" law, which gives the victim of an assault an increased ability to plead self-defense if the assailant is killed.
The law played some role in the case of Zimmerman, who shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. Language from the law was quoted to the jury and mentioned in the decision to acquit. Nonetheless, some have argued that the case would have been decided the same way even without the law.
Confusion has emerged over which artists are supporting Wonder's boycott. On Monday, April Ryan, a correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, posted a list of names that included Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones and Madonna, but the list appears to be at least premature. Some of the musicians and performers cited by American Urban Radio have existing contracts to play in Florida and may be unlikely to break those contracts.Wonder didn't make an open call for artists to join him in the boycott. In the announcement, made on Sunday at a summer festival concert in Quebec, he said, "We can let our voices be heard and we can vote in our various countries throughout the world to change inequality for everybody." As a personal choice, he added that "until the 'Stand Your Ground' law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," nor will he perform in any other state or country that has such laws. "Stand Your Ground" has proven to be the most likely target for change that could come out of the Zimmerman trial. President Obama has voiced concerns about the law as has Attorney General Eric Holder. Artists have historically taken stands against laws that appeared to violate civil rights. Ray Charles was famously fined in his home state of Georgia after refusing to play in a segregated hall in 1961. He paid the fine and returned to perform in the same hall after it was desegregated.
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