Singer joins Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé in honouring murdered teenager
Bjork has become the latest artist to pay tribute to murdered teenager Trayvon Martin after she dedicated a song to him in Canada earlier this week (July 16).
The Icelandic singer dedicated the track ‘Declare Independence’ in his honour at her gig in Iceland – you can watch footage of her performance of the song by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking. Previously, Bjork dedicated a performance of the same track to imprisoned Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
Björk follows Bruce Springsteen in honouring the memory of Martin this week. Springsteen spotted a fan in the audience holding up a sign requesting his song ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ during the show at Thomond Park in Limerick. He then took the banner and told the crowd: “I want to send this one out as a letter back home. For justice for Trayvon Martin.” Springsteen wrote the song following the death of Guinea immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot dead by four police officers in New York City in 1999. All four were later acquitted.
George Zimmerman, who was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin in 2012, was acquitted last weekend. Zimmerman, then 28, killed 17-year-old Trayvon on the evening of February 26, 2012. On the night in question, Zimmerman was driving through the neighbourhood when he caught sight of Trayvon in the street. Zimmerman called the police, claiming Trayvon looked suspicious. What happened next is still unclear – prosecutors say Zimmerman went to pursue Trayvon, Zimmerman’s lawyers claim Trayvon confronted and attacked him. The altercation finished with Zimmerman firing a shot from his 9mm pistol which hit the teenager in the chest.
The acquittal has sparked a storm of protests across the US, with many artists outraged over the decision including Beyoncé, Rihanna and soul singer Lester Chambers, who was attacked by a fan onstage for dedicating a song to the late teenager. Meanwhile, The Roots drummer Questlove has also joined the debate, penning a thought-provoking essay in the aftermath of the controversial verdict.
In a Facebook post, Questlove wrote: “I don’t know how to not internalise the overall message this whole Trayvon case has taught me: You ain’t shit. That’s the lesson I took from this case. I’m in scenarios all the time in which primitive, exotic-looking me six-foot-two, 300 pounds, uncivilized Afro, for starters – finds himself in places where people who look like me aren’t normally found. It has been hammered in my DNA to not make people feel uncomfortable. That is a crazy way to live. Seriously, imagine a life in which you think of other people’s safety and comfort first, before your own. You’re programmed and taught that from the gate. It’s like the opposite of entitlement.”