A handful of musicians are joining Stevie Wonder’s proposed boycott of Florida over the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law—but it appears not as many as original reports suggested.
April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks reported Monday that about two dozen artists—including Jay Z, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, and Usher—were joining Stevie Wonder’s proposed boycott of Florida. Ryan cited “sources close to the Stevie Wonder camp,” but other sources suggest that some of the artists are not planning to join the boycott anytime soon.
While Jay Z attended a Trayvon Martin rally Saturday alongside Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton and Rev. Al Sharpton, early reports indicate he’s not joining the boycott immediately. He’s still scheduled to perform alongside Justin Timberlake at the Sun Life stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., next month, according to Local10.
But the initial report—unverified though it may be—was enough for at least one Florida Republican to bash Jay Z for his rumored involvement.
“Look, thank God we live in a free country, and people can opt to be silly and foolish, but that’s a contrast—they go to Cuba, and that’s okay,” Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said Tuesday on the Laura Ingraham radio show in reference to the artist’s April trip to Cuba with his wife, singer Beyoncé, according to The Hill.
“They hobnob with the regime; that’s okay,” Diaz-Balart said. “But they won’t go to Florida, where we’re free. That’s their choice, but I think their priorities are a little bit off.”
The Rolling Stones, also rumored to be joining the protest according to Ryan’s report, are either not joining the boycott, or at least not telling their spokeswoman about it. Rihanna is likely not boycotting either. Representatives for Usher and Madonna have not yet confirmed their involvement either.
PoliticsNation reached out to representatives for Trey Songz, the R&B artist who joined the program earlier this month at Essence Fest, and they denied his involvement in the boycott. Although Songz does not have any upcoming performances in Florida, he’s scheduled to appear in other states with “Stand Your Ground” type laws, including Oklahoma and Nevada, in August.
But at least a handful of lower-profile artists have confirmed the boycott, including gospel singers Mary Mary and Eddie Levert of the O’Jays. Levert shared his support on twitter, while Mary Mary retweeted a story about their support.
Well!!!!! I’m going to join MR STEVIE WONDER IN HIS BOYCOTT OF FLORIDA I EDDIE LEVERT WILL NOT PLAY FLORIDA UNTIL THEY CHANGE THIER GUN LAWS
— Eddie Levert (@Eddie_Levert) July 16, 2013
Well!!!!! I’m doing this as a individual because u shouldn’t be able to follow,chase,assume,and kill anyone.no matter what color they are
— Eddie Levert (@Eddie_Levert) July 18, 2013
Other artists rumored to be involved in the boycott have weighed in on the Trayvon Martin story. Will I. Am., who was a vocal supporter of President Obama during the 2008 election, shared a series of messages in the wake of the verdict expressing his outrage—in at times explicit, and at others more subtle, terms.
He sent this message on Sunday evening, when protests against the verdict had sprung up around the country:
A powerful movement of the people is about to happen…purpose+values+understanding+knowledge+wellness+each1teach1+community=love
— will.i.am (@iamwill) July 15, 2013
A good number of artists rumored to be boycotting the state do not have any upcoming tour dates in Florida—including Madonna and Mary J. Blige.
Rapper Talib Kweli, although not on Ryan’s list of boycott participants, has become a vocal supporter of the Florida Dream Defenders who are protesting “Stand Your Ground” outside Governor Rick Scott’s office.
Ryan released her own update to the story Tuesday, acknowledging that some of the artists were “uncomfortable being identified.”
I obtained from multiple sources early Monday a list of artists and entertainers who my sources told me had committed to a boycott of Florida following the George Zimmerman acquittal. Since publishing that list I have heard from several representatives of the artists named who say, on behalf of their clients, they are uncomfortable being identified on that list and are seeking additional information.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m. ET