Pink is well known for her powerful voice and acrobatic stage shows, but on her Trustfall tour in Florida this week the pop star will distinguish herself for a different reason: by handing out banned books.
The singer and three-time Grammy winner is planning to distribute 2,000 free copies of books that have fallen foul of bans as a protest against a tide of censorship sweeping the US. Fans will benefit at tour stops in Miami and Sunrise, Florida – a state that has become the center of the banned book epidemic.
Describing herself as a voracious reader, Pink explained her thinking in an Instagram livestream. “I can’t imagine my own parents telling me what my kids can and cannot read, let alone someone else’s parents, let alone someone else that doesn’t even have children that are deciding what my children can read,” she said.
Pink’s banned book has been conceived together with the national free speech group PEN America. They have chosen four titles to give away – Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Todd Parr’s The Family Book, Stacia Deutsch’s Girls Who Code and the poem recited by the poet Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in January 2021, The Hill We Climb.
PEN America’s database of censored books recorded 3,362 book bans in US public schools in the 2022-23 school year, involving 1,557 unique titles. Of those, more than 40% – or 1,406 book ban cases – occurred in Florida school districts.
Under Republican governor Ron DeSantis, Florida has become a hotbed of challenges to free speech. The bill he signed into law last year, The Parental Rights in Education Act – commonly known as the Don’t Say Gay law – prohibits elementary schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity.
Morrison’s 1987 Beloved, a portrait of a formerly enslaved family, has been removed from libraries and classrooms in eight Florida school districts, according to PEN. In all, five of Morrison’s books have been pulled off shelves in 30 Florida districts.
Gorman’s soaring poem, The Hill We Climb, was written in the wake of the 2020 presidential election when she was just 22. She became the youngest inaugural poet at Biden’s inauguration, earning widespread critical acclaim.
The book of the poem was banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade county in May following a complaint by just one parent. In her complaint the parent, Daily Salinas, misidentified Gorman as Oprah Winfrey.
Salinas was later revealed to be aligned with Moms for Liberty, the hard-right activist group that devotes itself to removing books from schools that deal with sex education, LGBTQ+ rights and racism.
“Books have held a special joy for me from the time I was a child,” Pink said in comments before her Florida tour. “That’s why I am unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools.”
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/nov/14/pink-tour-banned-books-florida Pink to distribute banned books at Florida tour dates | Pink