Stevie Wonder to boycott Florida over 'stand your ground' law

Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:02pm EDT

Entertainer Stevie Wonder arrives at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication ceremony at the National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley

Entertainer Stevie Wonder arrives at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication ceremony at the National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

(Reuters) - Rhythm and blues singer Stevie Wonder said he will not perform in Florida until the state discards a "stand your ground" law that played a prominent role in the defense of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman who was acquitted in a racially charged murder trial.

The black Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enshrinee made his comments at a concert on Sunday in Quebec City, Canada, according to a video posted on YouTube.

"For the gift that God has given me, and for whatever I mean, I decided today that until the 'stand your ground' law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," Wonder said to applause.

He did not mention the Zimmerman trial by name in the video-clip posted online.

A jury acquitted Zimmerman, 29, on Saturday of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. The verdict touched off demonstrations in major U.S. cities.

Prosecutors said Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, wrongly suspected Martin of being a criminal because he was black. Defense lawyers argued Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.

The Florida law, which was approved in 2005 and has been copied in some form by about 30 other states, allows people fearing for their lives to use deadly force without having to retreat from confrontation, even if it is possible.

"For wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world," Wonder added.

Wonder, 63, has no future concert dates listed on his website. He is expected to perform at the Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park in September.

Representatives for the "Superstition" singer did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Mohammad Zargham)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (35)
FrankOtheMT wrote:
But you’ll go play Chicago any old time, right Steven? Why don’t you speak up about the gangsta mentality, or about non-violence? I know all of you squids think Martin was an infant with skittles, but the facts are the facts. Martin was more of an initial aggressor here. He over-reacted and bit off more than he could chew.

Jul 16, 2013 6:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
citizenCA wrote:
Good for Mr. Wonder. Glad somebody is taking notice about the state of Florida.

Jul 16, 2013 6:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
gitmojo wrote:
Who cares?

Jul 16, 2013 6:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures