Florida fans of Stevie Wonder who want to see the legend sing are going to have to go on a road trip for the near future. During a performance in Quebec City, Canada, on Sunday, the Grammy-winning performer spoke out about the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman and announced he would boycott the state.
"I decided today that until the 'Stand Your Ground' law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," he told the audience. "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."
Though the "stand your ground" law arguably was not a factor in Zimmerman's acquittal, it was a much-discussed potential motivation for Zimmerman's actions on the night of Feb. 26, 2012, when he and Martin had their deadly encounter.
Earlier in his over three-minute announcement, captured by a fan at the concert on YouTube, Wonder asked his fans to join him in the boycott.
"For those that we have lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world — we can't bring them back," he said. "(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."
Wonder isn't the first celebrity to speak out post-verdict; others have given voice to their concerns about the acquittal on Twitter and elsewhere, but his appears to be the first entertainer to actively take his business out of the state in reaction to the decision.
Last November Wonder withdrew from a Los Angeles gala in which he was set to perform in support of the Israeli Defence Forces after a petition urged him to rethink his performance.
First published July 16 2013, 5:05 AM