Are music stars really boycotting Florida? List causes celebrity uproar

Florida boycott?

Rihanna, Kanye West and Alicia Keys. (Getty photos)

(This post has been updated.) LOS ANGELESA list stating some of music’s top recording artists are reportedly boycotting Florida over the George Zimmerman verdict surfaced Monday following confirmed statements from Stevie Wonder and Mary Mary that they would no longer play in the state due to its Stand Your Ground law.

American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan released the list on her blog. It included A-list acts like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Jay Z, Patti LaBelle, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.

The full list, which Ryan said came from someone “close to the Stevie Wonder camp,” comprised many of the biggest names in music, which spawned a significant reaction online when it was published. It included:

  • Mary Mary
  • Eddie Levert
  • Rod Stewart
  • Madonna
  • Usher
  • Pattie Labelle
  • Kanye West
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Trey Songz
  • Jay Z
  • Rolling Stones
  • Justin Timberlake
  • R. Kelly
  • Rihanna
  • Alicia Keys
  • Joe
  • Will.I.AM
  • Keyshia Cole
  • Young Jeezy
  • Erykah Badu
  • Wale
  • Frankie Beverly
  • Parliament

Later, Ryan updated the post, saying she had been in communication with several artists’ representatives, some of whom said their talent was “uncomfortable being identified on that list.”

Some stars deny involvement in boycott

In a further update to Ryan’s story Wednesday, the reporter wrote that she received an official statement from Keys’ publicist “questioning the validity of the list,” adding: “I was given this list from a source who has been reliable in the past. So far, in addition to Stevie Wonder, two other entertainers whose names appear on the list have been identified by other news organizations as being supporters of the boycott. They are Mary Mary and R&B singer Eddie Levert.”

Keys’ publicist Kelly Bush told theGrio she believes the list that was given to Ryan is fabricated, describing it as an “Internet meme.”

Bush said in the official statement provided to theGrio and to Ryan: “We question the validity of this list since Alicia’s name along with many others has appeared erroneously.”

TheGrio reached out to Wale’s management, who said, they were “unaware of Wale’s involvement in any Florida boycott in regards to the Stand Your Ground verdict.”

George Clinton, who is a resident of Florida, said in a statement to theGrio: “While we stand in support of the spirit of the “boycott Florida” movement, the fact of the matter is that such a boycott cannot be practically maintained by those of us who reside in or whose base of operation is Florida. We hope that we may use our influence to encourage others to become active in the burgeoning campaign to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law in ALL states by refusing to buy the products from companies whose management and/or ownership supported such legislation.”

“We believe that only through the concerted effort of the general populace can we accomplish that goal,” the statement continued. “While entertainers can refuse to perform in Florida, everybody can refuse to drink orange juice.”

Other artists contacted by theGrio did not respond to requests for comment, but some provided statements to other news outlets.

A representative of The Rolling Stones told Mother Jones she was “not aware of this” list, and hadn’t been until the outlet contacted her.

Similarly, a source close to Rihanna told the Huffington Post that she was not part of the boycott, and Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and Madonna have also denied reports.

Timberlake and Jay Z are still scheduled to perform for their tour on August 16 at Sun Life stadium, as the venue confirmed via Twitter to PolitiFact.

Next: Wonder sparks a movement