Bruce Springsteen honored Trayvon Martin with an emotional performance Tuesday night in Limerick, Ireland. As the Star-Ledger was first to report, the show was the New Jersey rocker’s first since a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Martin, a 17-year-old African-American who was unarmed.
Springsteen said he wanted to “send this one out as a letter back home. For justice for Trayvon Martin.” Then he led the E Street Band in “American Skin (41 Shots),” a song inspired by the 1999 police shooting death of Amadou Diallo (a live version appears on 2001’s Live in New York City album). The Boss previously dedicated “American Skin (41 Shots)” during a show last year in Philadelphia. The song includes the stirring repetition, “You can get killed just for living in your American skin.”
Earlier, Stevie Wonder pledged to boycott Florida in the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict. Beyoncé called for a moment of silence during a concert in Nashville, while Young Jeezy and Wyclef Jean shared Martin-inspired songs. The Roots’ ?uestlove posted a powerful personal essay on Facebook after the acquittal. Lil Wayne’s new “God Bless Amerika” video, although it never explicitly mentions Martin, juxtaposes footage of African-American children with lyrics condemning a national tolerance for killing.
Watch Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” from a couple of different angles, if you prefer, below.