UPDATED: Florida On My Mind: Jay Z, Rolling Stones Join Stevie Wonder’s Boycott of Florida Over Stand Your Ground Law

Editors note: Huffington Post reports this list is discredited.

Representatives for a number of artists on a purported list of musicians and performers boycotting the state of Florida in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict said Tuesday that their clients have never heard of or been contacted about the list.


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. 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.

I know I am not everybody. I am just a human being but for the gift God has has given me and what it means, 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.

According to a source close to Stevie Wonder, it appears that several other artists are ready to join him in his protest. This morning that source told the American Urban Radio Network that artists including The Rolling Stones, Rihanna, Jay Z, Madonna and Justin Timberlake would be joining Mr. Wonder in bidding adieu to the Sunshine State so long as Stand Your Ground Laws remain intact.

The initial act in itself garnered wide attention with Slate calling it “politically savvy” and “morally righteous” acknowledging that that his actions harken back to similar efforts made by artists like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and The Beatles in the face of a Jim Crowe south.

If true, this massive showing of solidarity is likely to gain notice from both fans and policymakers in the state.  Whether or not that impacts Governor Rick Scott is still up in the air.

Last week the Governor did take time to meet with The Dream Defenders, a group of young activists of color who literally took over his office on behalf of Justice for Trayvon Martin, to discuss their demand to have a special session called to reevaluate Stand Your Ground Laws.  Upon meeting with the young protesters, the Governor reiterated his refusal to do so which prompted them to pledge to maintain their sit-in until their demands have been met.

While Florida is not the only state to maintain Stand Your Ground Laws, for the time being it appears to be ground zero for where this battle is fought.  Moving something substantive forward will require participation from everyone who has a stake.  While these artists are sure to up the ante, the visible presence of The Dream Defenders in Governor Scott’s office is just as invaluable.

The point being that you don’t need to sell out Yankee Stadium to do something — it helps! — but Florida is becoming a test case for what happens when a movement finds agreement with society’s cultural icons.

The power in that is yet to be seen.

Till then, I’ll have Florida on my mind.

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Sara Haile-Mariam

Sara Haile-Mariam