The American grunge rock band Pearl Jam just announced that they have canceled their upcoming North Carolina show in protest of new anti-LGBT legislation. Pearl Jam joins the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Boston, musicians who recently did the same. You can see Pearl Jam’s tweet announcing the move below.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) April 18, 2016
The image is a handwritten copy of the band’s official statement regarding the cancellation. It reads as follows:
‘It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th. This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation. 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. We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.’
Pearl Jam is currently on their 25th Anniversary tour, which they opened in Florida last week. The band was formed in Seattle, Washington, back in 1990 by front man Eddie Vedder and 3 others, and it has been noted as one of the most successful groups of their background.
This concert cancellation is far from the only activism work done by the members of the band. The Vitalogy Foundation, “founded in 2006 by the members of the band and their manager,” is one arm of such activities. The band supports through this foundation initiatives working in the areas of “community health, the environment, arts & education, and social change.” Money is raised for the Foundation through taking $3 from the price of each ticket for the band’s shows, as well as through Ebay auctions and personal donations from the band. It is named after the group’s 1994 album, Vitalogy.
In addition, the band has reportedly mitigated almost all of the carbon dioxide emitted from their world tours since 2003. They have done this through helping to restore and plant hundreds of thousands of acres of forest all around the world.
Numerous songs from the band also feature socially conscious lyrics, which speak up about everything from homelessness, in the hit “Even Flow,” to the potential for the misuse of religion, in the song “Marker in the Sand.”
In North Carolina, Pearl Jam is working with, according to their official statement, the NAACP of North Carolina, an LGBT youth music camp, Equality NC, and the LGBT Center of Raleigh. The band states further that they are “watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return. Perhaps even celebrate.”
The law in question, so-called “House Bill 2” or HB2, has been a controversial topic since its adoption. It enacts that only the state government has say over LGBT anti-discrimination laws. One of the state’s first measures, keeping transgender people to the public bathroom that corresponds with their born sex, does not bode well for how such so-called “anti-discrimination” measures could come about in the future. What the bill really amounts to is the setting in stone of the GOP state government’s position in favor of LGBT discrimination.