Iconic singer Stevie Wonder has always been known not only as an award-winning singer and songwriter, but also an activist. You know the soulful “Happy Birthday” song we all sing? That was written by Stevie Wonder to help Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receive a holiday in his honor. On the final leg of his Songs in the Key of Life Tour on Tuesday, Wonder was once again using his platform to make a statement.
The singer first requested all of the men who have daughters in the audience to stand. Wonder then asked all of the women who have daughters in the audience to stand. I don’t have any children, so I was one of the few audience members who was still sitting, as there were people all around me standing at the request of the legendary singer. “Reach out to leaders around the world, not just in the United States,” he said, about the effort to recover nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram more than a year ago.
Though this story received worldwide attention in April of last year, the spotlight soon faded, and there is doubt if the girls will ever be located. Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected president of Nigeria and will assume power on May 29, 2015, mentioned the missing girls in an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times, and questioned whether they can even be found. “Currently their whereabouts remain unknown. We do not know the state of their health or welfare, or whether they are even still together or alive. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them: to do so would be to offer unfounded hope, only to compound the grief if, later, we find we cannot match such expectation. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my government will do everything in its power to bring them home.”
After Stevie Wonder used his star power to shine a bright light on this subject, he performed well past midnight. He played the entire 21 songs from Songs in the Key of Life, which won the Grammy Award for Best Album in 1977. Wonder even hinted that there is a future tour of this nature upcoming too, so stay tuned, and let us all be thankful for artists like Wonder, who not only create timeless music, but use their platform to make social statements as well.
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