On this day, February 14, 1985, Stevie Wonder was arrested along with his business consultant, following his peaceful protest of South Africa’s racism outside the South African embassy in Washington D.C. “They said I was disturbing the peace. I was singing.”
He approached the door of the embassy, but he was not allowed inside. The blind balladeer then joined a group of protesters on the sidewalk in front of the embassy. As police moved in and began arresting them, Wonder stood erect and spoke out for all to hear: “Yes, on this Valentine’s Day, I will become a conscientious criminal for world justice and against oppression, segregation and apartheid.”
Before this arrest, I Just Called To Say I Love You was nominated for both Oscar and Grammy Awards. Though it did not win the Grammy, Stevie did take the coveted Oscar home, with some controversy. In his acceptance speech at the awards, Stevie dedicated it to the then imprisoned South African leader Nelson Mandela. This resulted in Stevie Wonder’s music being banned in South Africa.
“If my being banned means people will be free, ban me mega times.”
I love Stevie! His spirit is wonderful! I hope we can see a movie made about him one day!