Music Industry Taking Stand Against HB 2 with Cancelled Concerts

Recently, North Carolina has passed the HB 2, or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act which prevents transgender individuals from using a public restroom that corresponds with the gender they identify as. It forces them to use the restroom corresponding to the reproductive parts they were born with. The bill also nullified local ordinances that expanded rights for the LGBT community and prevents new ones from being created. So, basically, it’s a bill legalizing discrimination towards LGBT citizens. Is it not 2016?

Many citizens are outraged by this bill and see it as discrimination. There have been many comments, demonstrations, etc. speaking out against the bill. Many individuals within the music industry have used their star power and talent to protest North Carolina in hopes of raising awareness of the discrimination and forcing a change to be made.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.” – bruce springsteen

On April 9, Bruce Springsteen announced on his Facebook page and Twitter account that his concert which would have been held April 10 in Greensboro, N.C. would be cancelled. He included a link to his website where he posted more information into why he chose to cancel the concert. The post made it clear that Springsteen does not approve of the recent bill and that the cancellation was him and his band showing “solidary for those freedom fighters” referring to the LGBT community fighting for their rights. He also stated, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.”

Springsteen is not the only musician to utilize their status in order to fight against the HB 2. On April 13, Ringo Starr announced the cancellation of his All Starr Tour show that would have been June 18 in Cary, N.C. In the release of this news, Starr stated, “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred,” and “Spread peace and love.” He acknowledged how upset he felt over the LGBT community not being defended and urged fans to support organizations fighting against the bill and working to overturn it.

Rock bands Boston and Pearl Jam have also cancelled concerts which would have been held in North Carolina due to the HB 2. Pearl Jam was scheduled to play in Raleigh, N.C. on April 20. In a statement released by the band, they called the bill a “despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens” and that they “want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.”

Boston had three shows which would have been held in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh on May 4, 5, and 6. Tom Scholz, the founder of Boston, expressed that the band was excited to celebrate “forty years of history performing for our listeners in North Carolina with spectacular live shows this spring, human rights are more important.” Scholz also stated that, “Other aspects of the new law arguably encourage bigotry.  With thousands of fans in attendance at our shows, it is likely that some members of our audience and/or their loved ones are affected on a daily basis by this ugly expression of intolerance.”

The music industry is not standing for the discrimination towards the LGBT community that North Carolina is promoting. More artists such as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, as well as the lineup of Vans Warped Tour have upcoming shows in North Carolina. The media is waiting to see if they too join forces with their fellow musicians in using their talent and star power to protest the discrimination of the LGBT community in North Carolina and to raise awareness towards their on-going fight for freedom in a country that is already supposed to be .