More Artists Respond to North Carolina’s House Bill 2
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ is taking it’s toll on the state’s live entertainment industry.
Numerous artists have reacted to Governor Pat McCrory’s signing of House Bill 2, a state law that requires individuals to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. The law has been seen my many as discriminatory towards transgender people.
Here’s how the bill has impacted North Carolina’s music scene so far:
Dead & Company:
Dead & Company, a combination of members of the iconic Grateful Dead and John Mayer, released a statement on Thursday regarding House Bill 2.
The band wrote, “After much thought, consideration and conversation, we feel the most effective way to move forward is to perform as scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 10th and to donate $100,000.00 to organizations engaged in this battle for justice- the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina.”
Dave Matthews Band:
Dave Matthews Band announced that proceeds from their upcoming Charlotte show will go to support organizations defending equality in the state.
The donations will go to benefit five charitable organizations: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal, ACLU of North Carolina, Equality NC, and Time Out Youth.
The group is set to perform at PNC Music Pavilion on May 27th.
On May 20th, Maroon 5 posted on their Facebook page that they were cancelling all of their North Carolina shows due to House Bill 2.
The band was scheduled to perform at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on Sunday, September 11th.
They posted this on their Facebook page:
On May 12th, the popular folk band released a statement about their September 15th show in North Carolina.
“We believe that music is a language that connects people globally rather than a medium for close-mindedness. We all thrive in communities where we can feel safe and welcome. As a band we are against discrimination of any kind and strive to create community everywhere we go. Moreover, we have (and love!) our broad and diverse fan base, touring family, staff and circle of friends – and we want all of them to feel safe and welcome at our shows.”
The group stated that all of the profits from their performance would be donated to EqualityNC and The HRC. Additionally, they promised to provide gender neutral bathrooms at the Amphitheater.
On May 4th, music sensation Beyoncé shared a message about House Bill 2 on her website. The statement gives a history of the law and mentioned her upcoming shows in North Carolina.
It reads, “As The Formation World Tour makes its stop in the Tar Heel state in the midst of such a controversial time, we think it is important for us to bring attention to those who are committed to being good and carrying on the message of equality in this core of controversy.”
The statement includes a link to donate to Equality NC, a local organization dedicated to securing equal rights for LGBTQ North Carolinians. It also includes a picture of one of the organization’s t-shirts with the words ‘Y’all Means All.’
Australian band Atlas Genius played The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte on Saturday, April 23rd. During their set, front man Keith Jeffery made a statement about discrimination to the sold out venue.
He opened with “If you are straight, gay, lesbian, transgender… you belong here at our shows. And everybody, please please please remember, that everybody has a right to their happiness if they’re not affecting anybody else.” Watch the band’s full message below.
Demi Lovato & Nick Jonas:
On April 25th, pop star Demi Lovato tweeted a statement regarding House Bill 2. The singer stated that she and Nick Jonas had decided to cancel their Raleigh and Charlotte shows.
The statement reads:
R&B boy band 98 Degrees joined the list of artists to speak out against House Bill 2 on April 27th. The group released a statement on Twitter addressing their upcoming shows in Charlotte and Raleigh.
Here is the statement:
Blue Man Group
On April 22nd, Blue Man Group cancelled their upcoming performance at Belk Theater. The group’s statement about their decision to cancel said:
“At the heart of every Blue Man Group performance is a joyful celebration of all human kind — including our commonalities and our differences. We value every individual’s right to live a dignified, vibrant life in full color. As such, we are joining the growing list of entertainment professionals in protest of North Carolina’s HB2 law by canceling our upcoming tour performances in Charlotte. We regret any disappointment this may cause our fans, but look forward to performing for you in the future.”
The band Boston canceled three North Carolina shows, including one in Charlotte, on April 18th. The group released a statement that blamed House Bill 2 for their decision. The statement read:
“While the enjoyment of our fans is our central concern, and we have been looking forward to celebrating forty years of history performing for our listeners in North Carolina with spectacular live shows this spring, human rights are more important. It is with deep regret, that I must announce the cancellation of our upcoming shows on May 4, 5 & 6 in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh in order to raise awareness, and protest in the strongest terms, the recent passage of HB2, the so called ‘North Carolina bathroom law.'”
Simon Le Bon of popular 80s band Duran Duran addressed House Bill 2 at Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion on April 16th.
Bon told the audience that the group had decided to play for the sake of their fans and to support North Carolinians who opposed the bill. The band members then signed a petition against House Bill 2.
Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s lead singer, briefly spoke about House Bill 2 at the band’s show in Greenville, South Carolina. The singer asked people to focus on the bigger picture and respect one another.
On April 18th, the band released a statement that they would not play their upcoming shows in North Carolina. It read, “It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.”
“The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We 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.”
“It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.’
Against Me! singer and transgender woman Laura Jane Grace tweeted that her band would perform their May 15th concert in Durham, N.C., despite House Bill 2.
It was suggested to me in an interview that we might cancel our May 15th show in Durham, NC because of the states HB2 bill. Hell no! (1/2) — Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) March 30, 2016
On April 13th, Grace elaborated on the band’s upcoming performance. She told Buzzfeed, “I’m going to create an event around the show as a form of protest to say that despite whatever stupid laws they enact, trans people are not going to be scared. They are not going to go away.”
Grace later posted that money made from the band’s Durham show would be donated to Time Out Youth, an LGBTQ youth center in the Carolinas.
Mumford & Sons:
The British folk rock band Mumford & Sons said that will play in Charlotte despite North Carolina’s HB2. On April 14th, the group posted a message on their website.
“We will be playing a show tomorrow in Charlotte, and recent events in North Carolina have got us talking a lot as a band the last few days,” they wrote. “Over the years we’ve looked for ways to contribute to the vitality of local communities and, in that spirit, we’re now creating a charitable fund to support those who have made it their mission to pursue love and justice. We will be donating all of our profits from this show to this new fund. And we will start by making a donation from it to a local LGBTQ organisation.”
Superstar and LGBT activist Cyndi Lauper took a different approach. Instead of canceling her upcoming concert in North Carolina, she said the show’s proceeds would go to charity.
Lauper released a statement on April 13th, saying she would donate all the profits from her June 4th concert in Raleigh to Equality North Carolina, who is working to overturn House Bill 2. “I think the best way I can do my part is to turn my show into an entire day to build public support to repeal HB2,” Lauper wrote.
She added, “wherever there’s a shutout, wherever there’s people who don’t accept other people, the other people need you.”
Beatles member Ringo Starr followed in Springsteen’s footsteps when it came to his performance. On April 13th, the musician announced that he had canceled an upcoming show in Cary, North Carolina.
“I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred,” he said in a statement.
On April 12th, Grammy award winner and blues star Greg Allman posted a message about North Carolina’s law, calling it”sad and infuriating.”
He ended his post by saying, “I know that North Carolina is a state full of good folks and loyal fans, many of whom are angry about and feel misrepresented by this action. My band and I will continue to play our show as scheduled there tomorrow, April 13th, and hope that our music unites people in this challenging time. We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community urging Gov. McCrory to listen to the people and reverse this wrong.”
Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile addressed the question of whether or not she would cancel her North Carolina shows. On April 11th, Carlile posted a message about Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel his performance.
She wrote, “Bruce is an artist, but on behalf of NC LGBTQ citizens, also are poignantly depriving NC of the big business their events would bring- well done. For very different reasons I have decided not to cancel my North Carolina shows.”
Carlile continued, “I’m a small artist, and I’m gay, many of my fans are gay as well. To cancel my shows in NC would further oppress my fans who are hurt by this legislation, who worked hard to suppress it, and who need a place where they can come together.”
On April 9th, music legend Jimmy Buffett wrote that he’s going to perform in North Carolina as scheduled, despite the “stupid law” against the LGBT community.
Buffet added, “As for the future of shows in North Carolina, it would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed. That is up to the good people of North Carolina and there are many, and I am confident that they will see that the right thing will be done.”
Folk singer and founding member of the Grammy-winning band Carolina Chocolate Drops Rhiannon Giddens also spoke out about House Bill 2. Giddens tweeted a message on April 8th following Springsteen’s statement.
The post reads, “By the way…I’m not canceling my show in Greensboro. Or Asheville. Or Charlotte. I’m a North Carolinian & I believe n fighting from within.”
On April 8th, rock ‘n’ roll icon Bruce Springsteen cancelled his upcoming show in Greensboro due to North Carolina’s HB2 law. Springsteen released a statement on his official webpage about cancelling the performance.
“HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use,” He wrote.”Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace.”
Springsteen went on to explain his boycott, stating, “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”