Skip to main content

This maybe my first meta diary, hopefully my last.

There is a dairy on the rec list about the abomination to this country and to civil rights that was signed into law in Arizona today.

The diary talks about what pressure was applied to Arizona to get them to reinstate MLK Day.  The diarist posted the video by Public Enemy, "By the Time I Get To Arizona" and the lyrics. It suggests we now need songs like it to pressure Arizona to repeal this law.

While I agree with the majority of sentiments in Go F*ck Yourself, Arizona!, using Public Enemy's song as a model is exactly the wrong thing to do.  

The song

The hip-hop group Public Enemy recorded a song titled "By The Time I Get To Arizona", on their 1991 album Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black, in which they describe assassinating the then Governor of Arizona Fife Symington III for his opposition to the holiday.

This is exactly what we are fighting against in this country at this point in time.  Rhetoric, suggestions and plots to assassinate public officials in which we disagree.

Giving any honor to that song, beyond mentioning it's place in our national history does nothing more than play into the right wing meme that when it serves our side, we are okay with violent rhetoric and metaphor.

There are many better protest songs to model our needed protest against Arizona on.  One is Little Steven's (Steven Van Zandt) song "Sun City"

Van Zandt was interested in writing a song about South Africa's Sun City casino resort, to make parallels with the plight of Native Americans. Danny Schechter, a journalist who was then working with ABC News' 20/20, suggested turning the song into a different kind of "We Are the World", or as Schechter explains, "a song about change not charity, freedom not famine."[1]


While what is happening in Arizona has very little to compare with the evil of Apartheid.  It can serve not only as an example of another way to write a protest song, but assist in lobbying efforts for boycott/strike  against  Arizona.

When Van Zandt was finished writing "Sun City", he and Schechter spent the next several months searching for artists to participate in recording it. Van Zandt initially declined to invite Bruce Springsteen, not wanting to take advantage of their friendship, but Schechter had no problem asking himself; Springsteen accepted the invitation. Van Zandt was also shy about calling legendary jazz artist Miles Davis, whom Schechter also contacted; with minimal persuasion, Davis also accepted. Eventually, Van Zandt and Schechter would gather a wide array of artists, including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Peter Gabriel, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Jackson Browne and then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah, U2, George Clinton, Keith Richards,Ronnie Woods, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, Pete Townshend, Pat Benatar, and Joey Ramone.

Earlier today I began looking at the schedules of comedians, and musicians to see which to write to and urge to cancel their concerts.  

I didn't get to look very long, I have other commitments, but I started. One of the places I went to look is Eventful for Tucson and Phoenix.  I didn't get a chance to look at other sites listing events for Arizona.

But what I did find out can already be used:

Pat Benatar (the same Pat Benatar who sung in the recording and video of "Sun City") is playing the Desert Diamond, in Tucson, May 22.
The only email address I can find for her is on myspace.  If you have an account, please ask her to cancel her Tucson show.

Her booking agent is Brad Goodman at the William Morris Agency - email him as well.

As of Friday, April 24, 2010, no other artist who sang in "Sun City" is listing a show in Arizona.

However other names you may know

Carole King and James Taylor play the Jobing arena Phoenix/Glendale May 19, 2010

Carole Kingrequests and fan mail:
Carole King Productions
Attention: Fan Mail or Professional Requests
11684 Ventura Blvd. #273
Studio City, CA 91604

James Taylor has an email form on his web page

Elton John  
Tucson Music Hall, Tucson, AZ, Jul 21, 2010

Elton John's management:
Twenty-First Artists, Ltd.
1 Blythe Road
London, W14 OHG
Phone: 44-207-348-4800

Elton John's Agent:
Howard Rose
The Howard Rose Agency, Ltd.
9460 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 310
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: 310-858-3838

Granted I picked people playing in Arizona that I have heard of (I'm 47) and who have been part of liberal/civil rights/causes in the past.  This list can be greatly expanded with younger stars and other "oldies" that people my age and older will know.

I encourage you to go through Eventful for Tucson and Phoenix. Write to those entertainers you are fans of and ask them to cancel their shows.

I'm not saying we can pressure every band, singer and entertainer that plans to give a show in Arizona.  We don't need to.  If we get a few big names to cancel others will follow.

Just as we are going to be emailing and letting our thoughts and feeling be known to the NFL, MLB, NBA and others.  So should we be asking the entertainment industry to cancel shows and not make dates to play in Arizona while the countdown to this law going into effect takes place and the law it's self becoming operative.

Maybe we can even get many songs from the entertainment industry  singable by all and maybe one like Steven Van Zandt's "Sun City" and others protesting this backward step to Juan Crow.

You can't buy me I don't care what you pay
Don't ask me ARIZONA because I ain't gonna play


Personal note:  I'd love to see Ruben Blades make that same gesture in a new song aimed at Arizona. (around 3:56)


Sun City
We're rockers and rappers united and strong
We're here to talk about South Africa we don't like what's going on
It's time for some justice it's time for the truth
We've realized there's only one thing we can do

I ain't gonna play Sun City

Relocation to phony homelands
Separation of families I can't understand
23 million can't vote because they're black
We're stabbing our brothers and sisters in the back

I ain't gonna play Sun City

Our government tells us we're doing all we can
Constructive Engagement is Ronald Reagan's plan
Meanwhile people are dying and giving up hope
This quiet diplomacy ain't nothing but a joke

I ain't gonna play Sun City

Boputhuswana is far away
But we know it's in South Africa no matter what they say
You can't buy me I don't care what you pay
Don't ask me Sun City because I ain't gonna play

I ain't gonna play Sun City

It's time to accept our responsibility
Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free
Look around the world baby it can't be denied
Why are we always on the wrong side

I ain't gonna play Sun City

Relocation to phony homelands
Separation of families I can't understand
23 million can't vote because they're black
We're stabbing our brothers and sisters in the back

Originally posted to Clytemnestra on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 10:30 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site