The internet was abuzz with the news that a slew of A-List celebrities had joined Stevie Wonder‘s powerful boycott of Florida in the wake of George Zimmerman being found ‘not guilty’ of all charges for the February 26, 2012 slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
That news has been proven false.
The list, which included the following names, was first published by American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April D. Ryan, and quickly went viral:
- Mary Mary
- Eddie Levert
- Rod Stewart
- Pattie Labelle
- Kanye West
- Mary J
- Trey Songz
- Jay Z
- Rolling Stones
- Justin Timberlake
- R. Kelly
- Alicia Keys
- Will I AM
- Keyshia Cole
- Young Jeezy
- Erykah Badu
- Frankie Beverly
After various media sources reached out to representatives of the some of the artists on the list, it quickly began to unravel, leading to Ryan defending the sources in a brief statement:
I obtained from multiple sources early Monday a list of artists and entertainers who my sources told me had committed to a boycott of Florida following the George Zimmerman acquittal. Since publishing that list I have heard from several representatives of the artists named who say, on behalf of their clients, they are uncomfortable being identified on that list and are seeking additional information.
Wonder galvanized Trayvon Martin supporters after the unjust verdict by announcing during a performance in Quebec City that he would be boycotting Florida until or unless they abolished the racially biased ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.
“The truth is that—for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world—we can’t bring them back. What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.
“And I know I’m not everybody, I’m just one person. I’m a human being. And for the gift that God has given me, and from whatever I mean, 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.
“Because what I do know is that people know that my heart is of love for everyone. When I say everyone I mean everyone. As I said earlier, you can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it. We can make change by coming together for the spirit of unity. Not in destruction, but in the perpetuation of life itself.”
Though Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’ Mara decided to go with a self-defense claim rather than a ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense, the jury instructions included language clearly indicative of the law, including that Zimmerman had “no duty to retreat” in the face of an alleged attack by the 17-year-old Martin.
While the list has been proven false, Wonder and gospel group Mary Mary are confirmed to ben boycotting the state.
On the flip side, most recently, Timberlake and Jay Z’s scheduled “Legends of Summer” tour stop in Miami’s Sun Stadium on August 16 has been scheduled go on as planned.