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TheStreet Open House

Stevie Wonder Boycott Still Shy of Artists' Support

While the roster of supporters of Wonder's move is still unclear, his announcement resonated with artists and will likely bring some support as many entertainers have expressed disappointment and frustration with the Zimmerman verdict.

As a contrary indicator of support for Wonder's announcement, Detroit's favorite right-wing son Ted Nugent blasted the soul singer, quoted in a report on Huffington Post.

"You've got to be kidding me," Nugent said. "So 700 black people, mostly young children and young people were slaughtered in Chicago last year by black people, and not a peep out of Stevie Wonder. Are you kidding me? What is this, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'? How brain-dead do you have to be?"

In the same breath, Nugent claims the trial presents "a clear-cut case where all the evidence" found Zimmerman acted in self-defense. That's not true, of course. What the jury found was very little evidence, but just enough to not rule out self-defense as a motive. That's a far cry from concluding the crime was clearly self-defense and an even further cry from suggesting Martin was a "dope-smoking hoodlum," as Nugent says. Martin was never on trial. He's dead.

But under the conditions of Florida state law, that slim defense was enough to acquit Zimmerman.

Nugent highlights the racism at work here. He claims "evidence" was the deciding factor but then says the problems within the black community automatically made Trayvon Martin a suspect because he was black. That racist expectation is what the post-trial controversy is all about, both the outrage against and the support for the verdict.

Those appalled by the Zimmerman ruling can use Nugent's logic to feel justified, while the right-wing will nod in agreement and pat their guns. Good work, Ted.

Writing for Slate, Jack Hamilton notes that Wonder is "a zillion times smarter" than the average pop star and, while his boycott is largely symbolic, it could turn into something more should a flood of important artists join him. Many people may want to engage in a boycott but determine they can't for business reasons.

According to several polls, while a large majority of African Americans were dissatisfied with the trial verdict, the white community is split. Across the U.S. population as a whole, the topic remains controversial. To maintain a national audience, some pop artists can ill afford to step into such a firestorm, potentially alienating important industry outlets and audiences.

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