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Stevie Wonder leaves the country that has failed him

Stevie Wonder leaves the country that has failed him

Stevie Wonder leaves the country that has failed him
June 26
15:00 2021

Legendary musician Stevie Wonder is moving to Ghana.

In an interview with longtime TV personality and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, Wonder said that he plans to leave the United States because of the abundance of racial discrimination and hatred within the nation.

“I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say ‘Oh please like me. Please respect me, please know that I am important, please value me,'” Wonder said. “What is that?”

In Ghana, Wonder believes that he and his family will experience a much stronger sense of community, respect and belonging.

Wonder, an early pioneer of the auto-tune and soulful style of singing idolized today, is set to leave the U.S. as one of the nation’s most decorated artists. Born Steveland Judkins Morris, signed with the Motown record label at the ripe age of 11. Since that time, the Michigan native has spearheaded one of the most brilliant musical careers imaginable.

The famous voice and mind behind hit singles “Ribbon in the Sky,” “Superstition” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” Wonder has won the fourth-most Grammy awards of any artist with 25. He is one of just three artists to have won the Album of the Year award three or more times.

Sadly, his prestige and accomplishments did not exclude him from the harsh, racially-driven discrimination and disrespect experienced in America. Wonder, 71, has long fought for civil rights, for black people especially, and is one of the most famous activists in recent memory.

After activist and civil rights reformist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Wonder took up a decades-long fight to have his birthday honored as a holiday. Wonder even paused his musical career to hold rallies trying to convince Congress to pass the bill, which eventually was signed by President Ronald Reagan.

“Why should I be involved in this great cause?” he said in 1981. “As an artist, my purpose is to communicate the message that can better improve the lives of all of us.” Unfortunately, a better life for all is not an ideal a large subset of the American public welcomes like Wonder. Instead, racism and hate crimes abound in the U.S, influencing Wonder to leave the U.S permanently.

As a fan of Stevie Wonder and musical talent in general, I am sad to see him go. Even worse, I am frustrated that the United States is not demonstrating the love and compassion Wonder often highlights in his music, so much so that we quite literally drove away one of the biggest icons in our nation’s history.

The fact that the racism and hatred within the nation have reached a high enough fever pitch to rebuff someone who dedicated the better half of their life to civil rights activism should serve as a wake-up call for the nation.

Wonder is far from the only person who has grown tired of the constant racism, discord and hatred within the nation. Depicting a nation united with “liberty and justice for all” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the reality of America is falling short.

Justice, equality, peace, love and compassion scarcely can be found here. Instead, the American daily diet consists of racism, mistreatment, malpractice and corruption. The amount of injustices plaguing the U.S. is enough to make a man go crazy and in this case, enough to make a man leave behind the only home he’s ever known.

Wonder’s inevitable move to Ghana makes one ponder whether the state of the U.S. is beyond redemption. The problems Wonder dedicated his life to — racism, systemic oppression, unfair incarcerations, police brutality — were all corroding the nation before his time and will likely continue to stain America after his departure.

It is a tough pill to swallow, but with such huge issues hindering America, one has to wonder if the nation is destined to implode. As the old saying goes, where there is no justice, there is no peace. Sadly, America has been void of both for quite some time, long enough for Wonder to cease his time here.

The exact date of his move to Ghana is unknown, but Wonder did hint at releasing new music before leaving his home country for good.

“I’ll give you this song. You can have it,” Wonder said in that same interview with Oprah. “Because I want to see this nation smile again before I leave.”

One last curtain call is a fitting end to the dazzling career of the musical legend. Hopefully, the country he is leaving behind will grow more compassionate and loving in his absence.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Jalyn Smoot

Jalyn Smoot

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2 Comments

  1. outspoken
    outspoken July 11, 16:14

    This is heartbreaking, but obviously necessary for Stevie Wonder to make such a profound and life-altering decision to move out of the United Snakes of America.
    May God Bless him and his family during this transition

    Reply to this comment
  2. Lynn
    Lynn July 11, 21:47

    What a shame that Stevie Wonder feels that the US has failed him. What else could he possibly want? He has fame, fortune, and was given the opportunity to follow his dream and has been successful.. If he thinks he will get better treat in Ghana, he will be sadly mistaken.

    Reply to this comment

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