Rock icon Bruce Springsteen has cancelled his concert in North Carolina on Sunday (10Apr16) in response to the state's controversial new "bathroom" law.
The Born To Run hitmaker apologised to fans in Greensboro on his website Friday (08Apr16) for pulling out of the weekend gig.
In the lengthy note, Springsteen explains he is taking a stand against the HB2 legislation, which overturned city ordinances designed to protect the rights of transgender citizens to use the bathroom of their choice. The bill, passed in March (16), also nullified workplace laws enforcing bans on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the state.
"(This law) dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use," Springsteen wrote. "Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it's an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress."
He continued, "Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th.
"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. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."
Springsteen isn't the only celebrity speaking out against the discriminatory laws which are also being adopted in other states in the American South.
His comments emerged on the same day singers Miley Cyrus, Emmylou Harris and Chely Wright teamed up with officials at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) civil rights organisation to blast similar legislation being introduced in Tennessee, targetting transgender students in public schools and universities.
In her statement, Miley admitted she was stunned to learn state politicians were back in discussions about plans to introduce the bill, weeks after one family made a personal appeal to legislators to shut down the law.
"For a moment a few weeks ago, it seemed like lawmakers in Tennessee had really heard the brave testimony of a transgender young person and her parents," Miley said. "A mother's simple ask to legislators about what they would do if it was their child who was transgender hit a nerve, and the anti-transgender bill was sent to a summer study session, seemingly killing if for this year. But that was two weeks ago - a lifetime ago, it seems, in light of all that has happened since - and that bill is back."
Veteran country star Emmylou also urged authorities not to pass "this mean spirited and unnecessary legislation", while gay singer Chely urged her fellow artists and activists to "stand up against this scourge of unnecessary, hateful legislation in Tennessee".