'A Chilling Effect' Among Latino Musicians in Arizona?

The front of the Saturday Arts section featured Times Watch favorite Larry Rohter, Obama-defending reporter turned Latin American correspondent, combining those beats in a piece on Latin American musicians boycotting Arizona, "Musicians Differ in Responses to Arizona's New Immigration Law."

Rohter explained how one musician's award presentation was ruined by the state's bizarre insistence on upholding the nation's immigration law.

For the singer Larry Hernandez, the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards should have been a moment of pure celebration. But when it came time for Mr. Hernandez to accept his award as new artist of the year, he got drawn into politics, prefacing his remarks with a condemnation of the tough new immigration law that his home state of Arizona had just adopted.

"It is deplorable that they are discriminating against us just for the simple fact of looking Latino," he said from the stage. "It's not fair. We have to say no to that law."

Mr. Hernandez's name, however, is not on the list of prominent pop music performers who have declared that they will no longer perform in Arizona, one of the most dynamic markets for Latin music and culture. The boycott effort, called Sound Strike and led by the singer Zack de la Rocha of the rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, did get pledges from some big names, including the rapper Kanye West, indie rockers Sonic Youth and the trip hop duo Massive Attack. But it was light on mainstream "big tent" performers who can fill stadiums, and included no country music performers.

Still, the new law has galvanized Latino artists and performers not just in Arizona, but across the country and the hemisphere.

Rohter eventually found the dreaded "chilling effect," a conveniently vague term:

But [Phoenix vice mayor Michael] Nowakowski, whose father is Polish-American and whose mother is Mexican, said that a chilling effect was already being felt. He noted that the number of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in his station's listening area was "down substantially" this year and that it was hard to find bands willing to play the events because of what he called "the fear factor."

This is actually Rohter's second story on this seemingly low-priority topic.

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