Feathered Bastard

Rapper Pitbull Cancels Phoenix Show In Protest Over SB 1070 (w/Update)

Cuban-American rapper Armando "Pitbull" Perez is taking a bite out of Arizona over the state's "papers please" legislation by canceling a stop in Phoenix  at the Celebrity Theatre as part of his "Mr. Worldwide's Carnival" tour.

The popular rapper, perhaps best known for the joint "Culo," which partnered him with rap star Lil Jon, Tweeted the announcement from Taipei, Taiwan, according to his Web site.

"I am canceling my concert in Phoenix on May 31," types Pitbull. "How is the country we enjoy and love bcuz of its human rights, freedom, opportunity and that has been built by immigrants, now start 2 deny them? It is contradicting 2 everything the USA stands 4."

Pitbull is the son of first-generation Cuban-American parents, and he's addressed the immigration issue before, most notably in his sophomore album El Mariel and The Boatlift, named after the flight of Cuban refugees to Florida that took place in 1980.

I can already hear the nativist rednecks here in Sand Land saying, "Pitbull, who?" Google him -- and his album sales -- if you're really that out of it. 

Pitbull's cancellation comes on the heels of Cypress Hill's nixing a May 21 show in Tucson over the band's opposition to SB 1070. Indeed, it seems like more and more acts are avoiding the state, treating it like a leper ward.

Update: Alycia Klein, General Manager for the Celebrity Theatre got back to me with the following statement. She says those who paid via credit cards for the show have already been refunded. If you paid cash, you'll have to return your tickets directly to the Celebrity Theatre.

Hi Stephen-

Yes, we had sold quite a few tickets. As with many shows the majority of tickets are sold in the last two weeks before the event. That said there is no reason to think that the event would not have sold out! 

We are very disappointed behind his decision to cancel the event. I am glad the artist has right to express his opinion in whatever manner he chooses, I just wish it didn't effect so many people's paychecks. I personally wished he would have followed in Shakira's footsteps and came to the state and voiced his views in person - concert or not! There are plenty of ways to raise awareness than just to boycott. 

This isn't the first time we missed out on great entertainment because of an artist's political view. I recall Bill Cosby skipping our fine state a few times because of the lack of the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday.

I can't help but wonder since the city of Los Angeles is boycotting the entire state of Arizona if the Lakers will be forfeiting the playoff game against the Suns?

Alycia Klein
Talent Buyer/General Manager
Celebrity Theatre

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons