#NoMusicForICE: 300+ Musicians Pledge to Boycott Amazon-Sponsored Events and Partnerships Over Contracts With US Agencies

Hundreds of musicians are boycotting Amazon partnerships and events over government contracts. (Image: No Music For ICE/Twitter)

#NoMusicForICE: 300+ Musicians Pledge to Boycott Amazon-Sponsored Events and Partnerships Over Contracts With US Agencies

"Nobody should ever have to live under the kind terrorism that ICE has inflicted upon countless immigrant communities."

More than 300 musicians on Thursday pledged not to participate in exclusive partnerships with Amazon or events sponsored by the company unless it severs ties with law enforcement and government agencies that enforce the Trump administration's inhumane immigration policies.

"We will not allow Amazon to exploit our creativity to promote its brand while it enables attacks on immigrants, communities of color, workers, and local economies."
--
300+ musicians

The pledge came in an open letter published on the website of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, which is still collecting signatures.

"We will not allow Amazon to exploit our creativity to promote its brand while it enables attacks on immigrants, communities of color, workers, and local economies," the letter declares. "We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us."

The letter highlights human rights concerns involving particular federal agencies--Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement--and outlines the artists' demands of Amazon:

  • Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses;
  • Stop providing Cloud services and tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the U.S. government's deportation machine;
  • End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product; and
  • Reject future engagements with aforementioned bad actors.

"It has recently come to light that Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary with known ties to ICE and law enforcement, is hosting a festival marketed as an experience 'where music, technology, and art converge,'" reads the letter. "We the undersigned artists are outraged that Amazon continues to provide the technical backbone supporting ICE's human rights abuses."

Updates on the pledge are being shared on the "No Music For ICE" Twitter account and by supporters of the letter using the hashtags #NoMusicForICE and #NoTechForICE.

The initiative was celebrated on Twitter by immigrant rights groups Mijente and RAICES.

"As Big Tech and surveillance capitalism creep further and further into the music industry, it's no surprise that artists are fighting back," Evan Greer, a queer indie-punk artist and deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement Thursday.

According to the advocacy group, the letter was organized by "an ad-hoc group of artists and activists," including Greer, Adult Mom, Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, Alex Lichtenauer, @k8_or_die, Carmen Perry, Jes Skolnik, and Sadie Dupuis.

"My music peers' collective outrage at the announcement of Amazon's Intersect festival made several of us realize how desperately we need to formalize our concerns," explained Dupuis, a member of the bands Speedy Ortiz and Sad13.

"The powers that be at Amazon have been relentless in their pursuit to make this company indispensable to the ways many of us live--and even with an understanding of Amazon's complicity and centrality in reinforcing various structures of oppression, it often may feel too difficult to evade their reach," said rapper and record producer Sammus. "This is one way that we can and must push back."

"As creatives we have to recognize the power we possess in effecting change and sending a message not just through the art we produce but also the channels through which we share it," Sammus added. "We have to draw lines and this is one I am choosing to draw because nobody should ever have to live under the kind terrorism that ICE has inflicted upon countless immigrant communities."

Join the Movement: Become Part of the Solution Today

We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.

Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.