More than a month after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, Stevie Wonder had some critical words to share about the city’s mayor. “I don’t know if the mayor has blinders on, but to say that he didn’t know that there was a racial or cultural problem in the city is unfortunate,” Wonder said, via ABC News. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s remarks were a response to Ferguson mayor James Knowles’ comments to the press that there was no “racial divide” in the Missouri city. Wonder also said that he approves of how President Barack Obama has responded to protests in Ferguson.
Wonder’s comments arrive just as new footage from the August 9th shooting emerged, showing witnesses yelling that the unarmed teenager “had his fucking hands up” when he was shot by police officer Darren Wilson.
In the interview, Wonder said that issues like Ferguson and the Middle East continue to inform his music. “Obviously the good, the bad and the ugly, I’ve seen it all. I check out all of it,” Wonder said. “I am always challenged [by] anything that’s negative to write. How can we take it from that wrong place to getting it back to the right place? Unfortunately we’re living in a time of disposable love and we’ve got to get it from that place to really valuing life, valuing love and valuing each other.”
Wonder’s comments came at an otherwise celebratory event: The announcement that he’ll perform his 1976 classic double-LP Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety during an 11-date arena tour starting November 6th at New York’s Madison Square Garden.