What has the rock-star community done to get under the collective skin of the world’s border-patrol services? It must have been something pretty bad, because the last few weeks have seen not one, not two, but three cases of talented musicians being senselessly prevented from entering a foreign land.
First, our own country’s ever-competent Homeland Security Department barred Rodrigo Sanchez of Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela from visiting Texas because he shares his name with another man on our terrorist watch list. (Maybe he should have changed his name to something safe — say, Cat Stevens.) Rodrigo y Gabriela’s scheduled SXSW set was canceled, dealing a serious blow to their efforts to build buzz in the States. Luckily, that story has a happy ending: The government realized its error for once, and Rodrigo’s visa was reinstated on Friday. (Check ’em out on Jimmy Kimmel Live on April 14.)
Then, it was reported todaythat British Home Office Minister John Reid had gotten into the act,declaring that Snoop Dogg (pictured) could not enter the UK for aseries of tour dates. This decision was presumablyrelated to the fight that Snoop was allegedlyinvolved with at London’s Heathrow Airport last spring. But let’s berealistic here — if Reid’s worried about possible air rage, does heseriously think that refusing to give the big S-N-double-O-P a visa isgoing to help keep the peace? Besides, Snoop’s UK performances werescheduled as part of a joint “One Love Peace” tour with Diddy, whosestated purpose was to promote nonviolence and understanding across theworld. Has Reid no sense of irony?
Still, misapplied border-control laws are no laughing matter. Just ask Sir Elton John, whom a local archdeacon is trying to banfrom entering Trinidad and Tobago because, the cleric claims, John’smusic might “open the country to be tempted towards pursuing hislifestyle.” Ugh. That medieval mindset is actually written into Trinidadian law, which allows authorities to stop gays and lesbians from visiting the islands simply because of their sexual orientation.
So, PopWatchers: Write to your senator, Home Office Minister, ormorally stunted archdeacon today and tell them to chill out, stat. Or,if they simply must slam the door on visiting celebs, perhaps you couldsuggest that they choose a more deserving target next time? Forinstance, Posh and Becks — we have enough out-of-work D-listers of ourown without foreign ones coming over to take away their celebrealityjobs.