[Unity in Action has received a copy of a letter of agreement from singer Tina Turner pledging that she will not perform again in Apartheid South Africa "while the present circumstances there prevail."]
by Unity in Action
Los Angeles, California, United States
January 25, 1985
The press release says Unity in Action has received a copy of a letter of agreement from singer Tina Turner pledging that she will not perform again in Apartheid South Africa "while the present circumstances there prevail." The press release says this agreement was preceded by a succession of expanding protest demonstrations against the singer's concerts in many cities including New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles; Unity in Action gratefully acknowledges other activist pro-liberation forces whose concerted, very visible, and embarrassing protests and confrontations with Tina Turner were the major effort which brought about this victory--rather than anyone's constructive engagement. The press release says immediately prior to receiving the copy of Tina Turner's letter Unity in Action had notified the Roger Davies Management Firm of its determination to picket her presence at the upcoming Grammy Awards ceremony February 26 at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium; this would have been in keeping with our action of last July when Turner performed at the Forum; while she will not be a target of the Grammy demonstration, unfortunately Ms. Turner's statement did not come in time to prevent Unity in Action's having to bring pressure against the NAACP's Image Awards program here in December; as a result, all three Turner nominations for "Best Female Artist", "Best Song of the Year", and "Best Album of the Year" were withdrawn. The press release says although her promise is welcomed and accepted, it is regrettable that Ms. Turner was so badly informed as to South Africa's reality that her letter refers to "South Africa'' and the so-called "Republic" of Bophuthatswana as separate countries; only the fascist South African government recognizes the false "independence" of this forced resettlement area where Black South Africans, stripped of their birthright by law, are dumped as denationalized and disenfranchised aliens. The press release says it should be noted that undoubtedly Ms. Turner, as with other Black persons who enter South Africa, i.e. Jesse Jackson, did so under the condition that she renounce her African (Black) identity and submitted to the official apartheid, designation of "honorary white." The press release says Tina Turner's letter of January 15 signals a major breakthrough for local and national anti-apartheid forces who are continuing the campaign here to keep U.S. artists and athletes out of South Africa; the Cultural Boycott barring artistic collaboration with the racist apartheid state is part of United Nations and Organization of African Unity (OAU) imposed sanctions intended to isolate the inhuman regime; the U.N. has termed South Africa's system of forced racial separation and oppression "a crime against humanity."
Used by permission of Ron Wilkins, former member of Unity in Action.
Collection: Miloanne Hecathorn papers