Watch our exclusive interview with Cyndi Lauper HERE.
The iconic singer of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” performed in Israel earlier this year, stopping to visit a performing arts school and an LGBT center before her show at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.
Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) caught up with Cyndi and asked for her views on the cultural boycott of Israel and what artists’ roles should be.
“I got a [pro-boycott] letter after I already accepted the gig,” she said.
In fact, when news spread of her upcoming performance, she fell under heavy pressure by boycott proponents to renege on her commitment. In an interview for Counterpunch, Roger Waters claimed he wrote her a letter trying to persuade her to cancel. Cyndi continued, “I thought about it, but I wanted to see for myself”.
See for herself, she did. In her brief time in Israel, she got a little taste of the diversity of the tiny democracy in the Middle East.
She visited the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat HaSharon, one of Israel’s premier music schools dedicated not only to turning its students into excellent musicians, but also to using music as a means of cultural exchange, and noted the students from all over the world.
“And I thought that was a good statement, to promote a school that includes everybody,” she declared to CCFP.
She also visited an LGBT center in Tel Aviv. Israel is known for its excellent record on LGBT rights and acceptance, certainly compared to the rest of the Middle East but even relative to western states.
Cyndi is a long-time LGBT rights activist. She wrote the music and lyrics to the Tony Award-winning show “Kinky Boots,” which addresses the problem of acceptance for drag queens. In addition, she has worked to enact hate-crime laws, ran concert tours to promote acceptance of LGBT individuals, and set up a residence for LGBT homeless youth in New York.
“I have tried my whole life to bring people together,” Cyndi told CCFP.
We at CCFP believe that one of the most powerful aspects of art, and one of the greatest gifts of artists, is its ability to build bridges, foster better understanding, encourage dialogue, and hopefully lead toward greater mutual acceptance.
We work in the public discourse and behind-the-scenes to combat the efforts of boycott activists who put intense pressure on artists to cancel their trips to Israel and attempt to use the influence of artists to spread misinformation about the Jewish state. Since our founding in 2011, we have facilitated hundreds of visits to Israel by high-profile artists targeted by these campaigns, including Alanis Morissette, Rihanna, Alicia Keys and, of course, Cyndi Lauper.
We thank Cyndi for her commitment to using her influence as an artist to bring people together.