We’ll look into the immigration debate over Arizona (including today’s meeting between Gov. Jan Brewer and President Obama) in more detail on Friday. For the time being we’re going to take a quick look at musicians who have interjected themselves into the heated discussion.
On one side of the equation an alliance of artists entitled The Sound Strike are against the law and have vowed not to perform in the southwestern state. Started by Rage Against The Machine’s Zack De La Rocha, the group includes such varied musical acts as Kanye West, Massive Attack, and Sonic Youth as well as Latin American musicians like Los Tigres Del Norte, Calle 13, and Café Tacuba. According to the coalition’s website, artists will not tour there until the "odious" bill is repealed.
Though not part of The Sound Strike alliance other Latin American acts have protested the Arizona law include Shakira, Jenni Rivera and Wisin & Yandel.
In a unique position is the likes of Pink Eyes (real name: Damian Abraham), lead singer of Canadian band Fucked Up. In an opinion piece written last April on the Sterogum music blog, he expressed his opposition to the law but argued that a musical boycott is counterproductive. His views were partially shared by Curtis McCrary- booker of Tucson’s Rialto Theatre- who urged Cypress Hill to perform there “as a rebuke to those (who) would attempt to give the force of law to racial disharmony.” (Cypress Hill would ultimately cancel their planned Tucson concert and are currently one of the acts in The Sound Strike group).
Perhaps the most notable musical effort in favor of the Arizonan law comes from comedic singer Ray Stevens whose video for "Come to the USA" has reportedly become a “new viral hit”. The song focuses on illegal immigration and compares immigration laws in the U.S. to countries such as China and Sudan. “(Illegal immigration) scares me, and it’s going to really hurt the fabric of the country,” said Stevens in a recent interview.
Musicians throughout the Americas have given their views on Arizona’s immigration law. Perhaps it may not matter to the political powers that be yet the abovementioned acts could influence public opinion.
Image- CBS News (“A man leaves an upscale shopping mall in front of metal barricades marking the border with Tijuana, Mexico, June 2, 2010 in San Diego.”)
Online Sources- Too many too list!