Jay-Z, Madonna, Justin Timberlake: Please Don't Really Boycott Florida
UPDATE: Turns out many artists first listed by April Ryan at American Urban Radio Networks, like Rihanna and the Rolling Stones, aren't actually boycotting the state. Mother Jones reported on the story, as did the Huffington Post.
Dear Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Usher, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Rod Stewart, Young Jeezy, and the growing list of other boycotters:
The news of your boycott against Florida is both inspiring in its idealism and distressing in its reality. Taking a stand, if you will, against the seemingly criminal Stand Your Ground law is more than honorable. It most certainly is! But there are consequences to your actions that affect Floridians who were also horrified by the Zimmerman verdict. We aren't all alike here, you see.
If I were a hugely famous performing artist who made a butt-ton of money and controlled the livelihoods of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, I might also want to knock some sense into this backward-ass state. But can't you find some other way to actually foment change?
Maybe hold a benefit concert to help form or strengthen groups lobbying to repeal SYG? Or take those dollars you made from those Pepsi commercials and help mobilize the youth and minority vote in this state.
Sure, you might be thinking, I'm selfish. I imagine your inner monologue as you read this says something like: "When we don't come south of Savannah, then you won't have shit to write about!" And that's totally true (help an alt weekly out!). The issues here do clearly run deeper, though, than how much I'm itching to write a list about JT's hottest fashion moments of all time.* Though I am.
We've had it pretty bad down here, as far as live music is concerned, for a long time. Only recently does it seem like touring musicians have made a point to come all the way south to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami. Yeah, big names came through sometimes, but now we find such joy in seeing mid- to big, but not huge, acts performing regularly here.
We didn't all vote for Jeb! And none of us likes Rick Scott.
Your music brings us joy in our sadness. Yes, our state makes it really hard to prove a murderer is a murderer. But there are other ways to help change these detrimental laws. Come back to Florida. Hold tons of fundraisers here to get Florida's money moving and voters motivated to vote, maybe educate people on race issues, and hopefully prevent another tragedy like Trayvon Martin's killing.
We need your music and your help, but not this way.
* Seems like Jay and JT might still be hitting up Sun Life for the Legends of the Summer Tour on August 16, despite this boycott.