There’s been no shortage of celebrity outcry over the George Zimmerman acquittal Saturday. Stars such as Kim Kardashian, Diddy, Jordin Sparks, John Cusack, and James Van Der Beek have released statements condemning Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law, that was the major reason a Florida jury declared George Zimmerman innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin. Stevie Wonder is the first celebrity to take action, however, as the singer officially announced to a crowd last night that he will boycott any future performances in the state of Florida until Florida policy makers reform or eliminate the state’s “Stand Your Ground” Law.
“I decided today that until the 'Stand Your Ground' law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," Stevie Wonder told fans last night in Quebec City. Stevie Wonder further added, “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.”
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law came to public awareness after it was successfully used as a defense by George Zimmerman to refute claims that he murdered Trayvon Martin without justification. Florida prosecutors were unable to discredit Zimmeran’s claims that he shot Martin in self-defense, and the jury found Zimmerman innocent of all charges.
Public figures commonly speak out of controversial issues, but rarely take actions to back up the things they claim. Stevie Wonder deserves credit for placing his strong social views ahead of his economic goals. Stevie Wonder is actively sacrificing any money he might make playing shows in Florida in the name of supporting what he believes in.
It is unknown if Stevie Wonder’s boycott of Florida will lead to more celebrities taking actions in support of their social views. Like it or not, celebrities do hold power in influencing their fans regarding social and political issues. If more celebrities take similar steps as Stevie Wonder to punish Florida for the “Stand Your Ground” law, it’s possible the law could be changed or removed sooner than it would have before.