Chaka Khan Boycotts Florida Over Zimmerman Verdict

Music legend refuses to perform in the Sunshine State.

Posted: 07/31/2013 12:04 PM EDT
Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan has joined fellow performers in the boycott of Florida, as a show of solidarity against the not guilty verdict handed down to George Zimmerman earlier in the month.

Khan recorded a song in honor of Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down by Zimmerman last February. In a Huffington Post interview, the legendary songstress revealed that she, like Stevie Wonder, is shunning the Sunshine State. "I am boycotting Florida," she said. "I had a booking there last week and I canceled it."

However, if a gig in the state involves paying homage to Martin, she won't turn her back on the slain teen. "If any tributes come up I'll do it. Absolutely."

Zimmerman's acquittal of second-degree murder was "a travesty" according to Khan, and more proof that "racism is still very much alive and well" in America. "It has gone to more of a cerebral state. But it's alive and well. The new slavery is keeping Black men in jail."

A native of Chicago, the "Through the Fire" singer went on to address gun violence in the Windy City. Last year, the Chi surpassed 500 homicides and clocked more than 40 in the first month of 2013 for a record-breaking 31 days of bloodshed. "It's insane," Khan continued. "These kids are using gangs as a rite of passage. If we were still living in villages it would be very different."

She also publicized an anti-violence rally to be helmed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson in Chicago this weekend.

In between career commitments (her new album, The iKhan Project, will be out sometime this year), Khan likes to make time for activism and believes others should follow suit. "Everyone should be of service in some way. There's a reason for being here. We're here fundamentally on this planet right now to be of assistance to one another."

 

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(Photo:  Kris Connor/Getty Images for BET)

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