Jay Z, Kanye, Madonna Join Stevie Wonder’s Florida Boycott In Wake Of Zimmerman Verdict (REPORT, UPDATES)
The Huffington Post | By Kia MakarechiPosted: 07/22/2013 5:37 pm EDT | Updated: 07/22/2013 10:21 pm EDT
A number of top-level celebrities are reportedly following in Stevie Wonder’s footsteps and plan to boycott Florida in protest of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws. The list, which was first reported by AURN’s April Ryan and credited a “a source close to Wonder,” includes the likes of Madonna, Usher, Kanye West, Jay Z, Rihanna and Rod Stewart.
Wonder announced his intention to boycott any state with “Stand Your Ground” lawsafter George Zimmerman after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the 2012 killing of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman did not invoke the “Stand Your Ground” defense in the trial, though it did figure into the police’s decision not to not arrest Zimmerman for weeks after the incident. Additionally, the “Stand Your Ground” defense appeared in instructions to jurors, and a juror cited the law in explaining the not-guilty verdict.
“I decided today that until the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said at a concert in Quebec City. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world. The truth is that — for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world — we can’t bring them back. What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.”
Florida is not the only state with “Stand Your Ground” laws on its books — at least 23 other states have similar provisions providing varying degrees of legal protection to those who use force in perceived self-defense.
The Huffington Post is reaching out to representatives for a number of artists on this list and will update this post should more information be made available.
UPDATE: A local news outlet in Florida cites “an executive affiliated with the ‘Legends of the Summer’ tour” who says the Justin Timberlake and Jay Z concert planned for August 16 at Sun Life stadium will go on. As stated earlier, HuffPost has reached out to Timberlake and Jay Z’s reps for comment on the reported boycott.
UPDATE 2: A source with knowledge of the matter has denied to HuffPost that Rihanna is joining the boycott. We’ll continue to update as more information becomes available.