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Cypress Hill cancels Rialto concert to protest SB 1070

Latino hip-hop group Cypress Hill has canceled their May 21 concert at Tucson's Rialto Theatre.

The band printed the following statement on their website Monday.

In a show of resistance to the criminalization of immigrant communities and in opposition to SB1070, recently signed into Arizona legislation, Cypress Hill has elected to cancel a performance scheduled in Tucson for May 21, 2010. This decision was made in an effort to show support and solidarity with those, undocumented and otherwise, being directly affected by this unconstitutional "law". Cypress Hill recognizes those living in the struggle for their basic civil rights. Rise Up!

While disappointed, Rialto booker Curtis McCrary was sympathetic: "I understand where they're coming from. It's a completely unjust law. And one of the worst things about this law is that it's bad for business."

McCrary said he tried to convince the band to play the show as a platform to voice their concerns. "Ultimately, they decided that the boycott was a more powerful message," he said.

The Rialto will not seek damages or repayment for any promotional costs they incurred, and have an agreement to bring the band back if and when SB 1070 is repealed, McCrary said.

Those who purchased tickets for the show can obtain refunds at the point of purchase, or automatically for credit card buyers.

Formed in 1988 in southern California, Cypress Hill had major hits in 1991 with their debut album, "Cypress Hill," which went double platinum, and their follow-up in 1993, "Black Sunday."

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Also known for their strong stance in favor of the legalization of marijuana, the band contributed the single "I Wanna Get High" to a High Times magazine compilation CD to benefit NORML, a national legalization lobbying group. Famously, member Muggs smoked a joint on "Saturday Night Live" during the band's performance of their hit single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That."

The band kicked off a US tour in support of its latest studio album "Rise Up" in Philadelphia on April 10th.

In celebration of the band's imminent arrival, muralist Joe Pagac painted a Cypress Hill mural on the west wall of the Rialto last month. This was, of course, before Gov. Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, and before U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva called for a boycott of the state.

According to Grijalva spokesman Adam Sarvana, the boycott was meant to be for conventions only; however, many in the entertainment industry are taking the implications of SB 1070 quite seriously. On April 30, Colombian pop diva Shakira visited with state officials and concerned citizens at the state capitol.

What's your take?

Do you think Cypress Hill is right to cancel? If you were planning to attend, what songs will you miss hearing most?

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 5 »

5
3 comments
May 12, 2010, 12:21 pm
-0 +1

I want to applaud Cypress Hill for displaying their support.  Unfortunately, for the mistake of one, we all pay.  Here, in Phoenix, all the UGLY people have come out.  Hate, anger and racism has shown it’s face.  I heard that Gov Brewer came out on the radio very upset.  Bottom line, she stated this is the law and so be it.  Well Gov, you need to get a hold of your republican croonies who egged you on to sign this law, therefor securing your re-election.  Bad move.  This law DOES NOTHING for border security, the law of being here illegally is a crime and always has been.  What the Gov did was just show how we are seen by her party, nothing but a bunch of Mexicans who are suspicious of being illegals. 

I’m old school, and I think that by boycotting the major “Republican” companies that support the Gov, the “I do what I want” Sheriff Arpaio, and let’s not forget that compassionate Republican who said, “I can micro-chip my dog, why can’t we do the same to them”, we are sending them a message. “We are tired of this.  You guys have gone to far with making a law that makes the color of my skin a crime”.  God bless those who stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. 

I welcome any remarks, but don’t make them UGLY. Lets not forget, God does not like ugly… and neither do I.

4
2 comments
May 12, 2010, 9:30 am
-0 +1

Chuck D., the Godfather of Hip Hop, who is no stranger to AZ politics, has called for an industry wide boycott of the state. If you don’t like the fact that the show was canceled, do something that Cypress Hill fans are unlikely to do, VOTE. Fix the problem, and they come back. To do the show and half-heartedly prompt their pot smoking burnout fans to change the law is pointless.

To some degree the fans deserve punishment for letting the situation get to this point. AZ suffers from extraordinarily low voter turnout, which is how these idiots get elected. Rather than call the band weak, realize that without solidarity and anger, nothing will change. With all due respect to Curtis, I think the Rialto is exactly who the boycott is supposed to hurt. They are an entertainment business, and business is politics, even if it is supposed to entertain. Art without politics is dead, and I hope this makes the staff of the Rialto angry enough to get involved in turning out the idiots in Phoenix.

3
11 comments
May 11, 2010, 6:23 pm
-0 +0

It would be politically smart for Councilman Steve Kozachik, the newly-elected Republican whose Ward 6 the Rialto inhabits, to applaud McCrary on this matter. 

However halfheartedly, Kozachik has expressed personal opposition to SB 1070.  But he’s also been vocal in his opposition to Congressman Grijalva’s call for a boycott.  This is a downtown issue in which these factors align for him, and him uniquely.

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