Bruce Springsteen, also known by his nickname, “The Boss,” announced on April 8, 2016, he would cancel his concert in North Carolina because of a recent state law. N.C.’s state Legislature passed a bill stating transgender people must use bathrooms consistent with the gender specified on their birth certificates and not their gender identity. Springsteen and his band discussed their position and decided to cancel the concert in Greensboro. Those who bought tickets for this concert on April 10 will receive a full refund.
The law in question was named House Bill 2 or the “bathroom law.” State legislators passed a law dictating which bathrooms a person is allowed to use. According to the Detroit Free Press, the law additionally included a provision preventing members of the LGBT community to claim human rights violations by their employers.
The music icon decided on April 8 he would not turn a blind eye. Springsteen wrote an official apology to all of his fans on his website. He expressed solidarity with those who were being victimized by House Bill 2. He claimed canceling his show was the strongest way to show disdain for the state’s law.
The rock legend said, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry – which is happening as I write – is one of them.”
Springsteen was born in Long Branch, N.J., on Sept. 23, 1949. His father, Doug Springsteen, had a hard time keeping a steady job and often had several at a time. This blue-collar upbringing would have a major impact on the music The Boss would become famous for.
When the rock legend saw Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show, his life’s path was presented to him. His father, however, disapproved of his son’s musical aptitude. In his biography, The Boss said, “there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me, and the other was my guitar.”
When he was 16, his mother scrimped enough money together to buy him his first guitar. For $60, she purchased him a Kent guitar, which has stayed with him throughout his life. It is a guitar that would have been played in N.C. had the band not canceled the concert. Instead, the guitar will travel to the icon’s next show.
The decision to cancel the concert was planned. Every member of the band had a chance to make their voice heard before any announcement was made. Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band told reporters discrimination against the LGBT community was spreading across the country, and, “[they decided to] take a stand right now.”
Many people have been upset by the band’s decision to cancel their concert. Republican Congressman Mark Walker spoke with Hollywood Reporter. He told a reporter the band was using bully tactics. Walker said they were behaving like school children who do not get their way.
During the week of April 4, PayPal stated they were no longer opening a facility in Charlotte. Their decision was directly related to the bathroom law. N.C. state officials said the state will lose millions of dollars as a result.
The cancellation of this concert will be another blow to the state’s economy as a result of the new law. It was estimated the local economy of Greensboro would lose $100,000 in revenue generated by the concert.
The Boss has a long history of activism, and his lyrics are characterized by the struggles of the working class and the fight for social justice. Last year, The Boss played a show in Los Angeles for a fundraiser in support of race relations.
Bruce Springsteen and his band decided to take a stand against bigotry and canceled their North Carolina concert. They expressed solidarity with transgender people who will be affected by the bathroom bill. The local economy has taken a hit as a result of the band’s decision, and many conservatives in the state are upset. Regardless, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band used the most powerful tool they had to voice their support of the members of the LGBT community.
By Harrison Baker
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
Biography.com: Bruce Springsteen
Entertainment Weekly: Steven Van Zandt addresses Bruce Springsteen’s canceled North Carolina concert
Detriot Free Press: Bruce Springsteen cancels N.C. show over anti-LGBT law
KTTN: Bruce Springsteen cancels North Carolina show over transgender law
NJ.com: Not everyone thrilled that Bruce Springsteen cancels concert over N.C. bathroom law
The Washington Post: Bruce Springsteen cancels North Carolina concert to protest bathroom law
Image Courtesy of Takahiro Kyono’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License