Shades of Sun City: Springsteen Cancels Concert in North Carolina
The Boss being the Boss, Bruce Springsteen has just cancelled his show scheduled for Sunday in Greensboro to protest North Carolina's passage of the notorious "bathroom law," which equal rights advocates have called "the worst anti-LGBT law in the nation." The so-called Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, or HB2, forces transgender people to use restrooms associated with their gender at birth, and restricts the rights of LGBT people to sue when they suffer discrimination in the workplace.
In his statement announcing the cancellation, Springsteen called the bill "an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress." Citing the "burden" placed on LGBT citizens and the need to "show solidarity for those freedom fighters," he went on, "Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry (is) one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."
Springsteen thus joins a growing number of artists, athletes and companies – including the NHL and NBA - threatening to take their business somewhere else. He also summons the memory of the successful cultural boycott against South African apartheid, in particular the Sun City boycott by over 50 Artists United Against Apartheid who came together under the tutelage of Springsteen bandmate Steve Van Zandt to make the great 1985 album, Sun City.
In this terrific video, see Van Zandt, Springsteen, Dylan, Miles Davis, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Pete Townshend, Peter Gabriel, Gil Scott-Heron, Run-D.M.C., Bobby Womack, Jimmy Cliff, Ruben Blades, Joey Ramone, et al exuberantly make music - "I, I, I, ain't gonna play Sun City!" - and change. Mao Tse-Tung: Many hands make the load light.