The after effects of the Zimmerman trial continue to be felt in the music world today, as soul legend Stevie Wonder announced that he will not play in Florida again until the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law is abolished. Wonder’s announced the boycott at a concert in Quebec, Canada following a turbulent few days of protests, marches and vigils across the United States as the nation grapples with the surprise acquittal.
Saturday’s verdict in the Sunshine State saw George Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, declared not guilty of all charges against him. While Zimmerman’s attorneys did not mount a “stand your ground” defense in this case, the law has become the focus of national criticism and was frequently debated in the trial. The law permits people to defend themselves, with lethal force if necessary, if they believe someone was trying to kill them or seriously harm them. However, many Americans have been dismissive of Zimmerman’s account of events and argue that Trayvon Martin – who had no criminal record – was attacked by the defendant because he was black.
To the cheers of the Canadian crowd, Wonder declared, “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.”
That may leave huge swathes of Americans unable to see the star. Over 30 states have passed some version of Stand Your Ground, and the Republican dominated Florida legislature unlikely to budge on their version of it anytime soon. Other stars including Nicki Minaj, Tom Morello, Chuck D and Flo Rida have also expressed their anger at the verdict.
To watch a clip of Wonder’s announcement, see below