Morrissey’s politics divide his LA fan base

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Morrissey performing at the Hop Farm Music Festival, July 2011. Photo credit: Man Alive!/CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Morrissey is a kind of deity in Los Angeles, so much so that residents consider November 10 as “Morrissey Day.” The singer lived here for a long time and wrote lots of songs about the city. 

The local Latinx community has welcomed the star with open hearts and fierce loyalty since the 1980s. There are Morrissey karaoke nights in Boyle Heights and a cover band named Mexrissey. 

But for some, the love is wavering after Morrissey made questionable statements about race, such as “everyone ultimately prefers their own race.” Fans aren’t happy about his outspoken support for England’s far-right, anti-Islam political party either.

“I was thinking about songs like ‘Lucky Lisp’ and songs that still to this day, like I have a visceral reaction, but in the best way. I’m not feeling gross yet. And yet there it is. Because the gross part comes when I really look at what he’s saying in person, and I look at these political platforms. And I have that visceral reaction, but in another way. That’s the conundrum, that’s the struggle that I’m in right now, that I know a lot of fans are in right now,” says Melissa Hidalgo, author of “Mozlandia: Morrissey Fans in the Borderlands.” 

“It’s the nationalist ideologies, right? It’s the rhetoric around closing borders and ending migration -- it resonates here in the borderlands. You know, we are in the borderlands, and this is why it matters so much to me and to a lot of fans in this region,” she adds. 

Credits

Guest:
Melissa Hidalgo - author of “Mozlandia: Morrissey Fans in the Borderlands”

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Caleigh Wells, Rebecca Mooney