Musicians Respond to George Zimmerman's Acquittal
As the jury deliberated the fate of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, the media fanned the flames of fear that there would be riots if Zimmerman was found not guilty. The media was wrong about predicting riots, instead there have been strong, peaceful reactions. Especially from the world of music.
The rapper Young Jeezy posted his new song "It's a Cold World (A Tribute to Trayvon Martin)" to his Facebook page, where he emphasized, "I am in no way shape, form, or fashion... trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events. These are my true feelings and my form of expression about it."
Reggae band Steel Pulse have made a new song "Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon]," available to download for free, as a plea for justice.
The oddest reactions to a musical dedication was in California where at the Hayward-Russell City Blues Festival, 73 year old soul singer Lester Chambers told the crowd that he would be covering Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." Chambers said that if Mayfield were still alive to see the Zimmerman trial, the lyric "there's a train a-comin'" would be changed to "there's a change a-comin'." A woman from the audience jumped on stage and shoved the singer while shouting at him, ""It's all your fault." The woman was arrested and Chambers was taken to the hospital for bruised rib muscle and nerve damage.
But mostly cooler heads have won the day. None cooler than in Quebec City where Stevie Wonder announced to the audience that he was done playing in Florida. "I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. 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."
While other musicians haven't publically joined Mr. Wonder's boycott, there is precedent for such form of musical protest. As a stance against apartheid, musicians led by Steven Van Zandt avoided South Africa in the 1980s. More recently, musicians from Roger Waters and Brian Eno to the Pixies have boycotted the nation of Israel for their policies. We'll just have to wait and see what other musicians have to say next in the wake of Zimmerman's acquittal.