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Esperanza Spalding joins forces with Stevie Wonder to call for Guantanamo Bay closure

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Nov 21, 2013 | 10:44am EST

Jazz singer Esperanza Spalding has recruited Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte and Janelle Monae for her provocative new music video, in which she calls on U.S. government officials to shut down infamous detention camp Guantanamo Bay. The Grammy winner sings and raps about the need to close the prison centre in Cuba in the promo for her new track We Are America, which features cameos from her peers standing up for the rights of the detainees, all suspected terrorists who have been held in custody for years without being formally charged or placed on trial. Spalding felt compelled to speak out about the alleged human rights abuses going on behind closed doors at Guantanamo Bay, where some detainees have been on hunger strike for over six months, after learning that officials there have been reportedly force-feeding prisoners by shoving tubes up their noses and down to their stomachs - a practice which has been deemed a form of torture by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The singer says, "I want to help Congress see that there is public support for the goal of closing Guantanamo. "The first time I heard about the mass hunger strike at Guantanamo, I was appalled and embarrassed about what my country was doing. As I learned that there were far better options on the table, and that what is going on at Guantanamo is a clear violation of U.S. human rights obligations, I felt I had to do something. "We have to see past all of the stereotypes, negativity and stigma, and the culture of resistance and fear, and look straight to the basic intrinsic rights of all people, and work to protect those rights. They're not reserved for any individual person or context. This issue is about the basic human rights of all people." The video was released on Monday (18Nov13), a day before members of the U.S. Senate voted in favour of loosening restrictions on transferring prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay, potentially paving the way for the complete closure of the facility. Spalding and her celebrity pals aren't the only musicians who have urged authorities to close Guantanamo Bay - rockers Trent Reznor, Pearl Jam and R.E.M. have all previously thrown their support behind the same campaign, while rapper/actor Mos Def was filmed being force fed for a hard-hitting campaign ad, which debuted earlier this year.

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