Stevie Van Zandt: Reagan a 'Bad Guy' in Apartheid-era South Africa
Musician/actor Stevie Van Zandt is best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen and his colorful turn as Silvio in the HBO series The Sopranos.
During the 1980s, Van Zandt helped record Sun City, a politically charged anthem against South Africa's Apartheid system.
Van Zandt recalled the creation of that star-studded song project and a U.S. politician he called a "bad guy" during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Part of it is that we crossed the line from social concerns specifically into political. I mean, we named names. We named Ronald Reagan’s name at the height of his popularity. He’s in the song as one of the bad guys. [Laughs.] Which he was, of course. That was sort of the difference....
And sure enough, when it came time, the anti-apartheid act was legislated. Reagan of course vetoed it, and for the first time, his veto was overturned. That was the beginning of the end. That was how we measured our success, by having the strength within Congress to overturn a Reagan veto, which was unprecedented at the time. Then all of a sudden things started to fall like dominos. Once the banks couldn’t support that evil empire anymore, the government fell, and out comes Mandela, and the rest is history. But it looked like a reaaaaaaal long shot at the time.
As Breitbart News' Joel Pollak notes, the collapse of Communism helped free Mandela, something the singer fails to mention. Nor does Van Zandt get into the nuances of President Reagan's "constructive engagement" policy, one that did not reflect an embrace of apartheid but an ongoing battle against communism and its insidious allies.