Kennedy Center: Honor Sixto Rodriguez!
  • Petitioned Michael Kaiser

This petition was delivered to:

President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Michael Kaiser
Chairman, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
David M. Rubenstein
Vice President of Press, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
John Dow

Kennedy Center: Honor Sixto Rodriguez!

    1. Stephen Robert Morse
    2. Petition by

      Stephen Robert Morse

      New York, NY

He was hailed as the next Bob Dylan, only to quickly drop into obscurity. Then, decades later, he found out that he had been a major musical sensation, an inspiration, and even a household name, in countries around the world. The story of Sixto Rodriguez is almost too incredible to believe.

Rodriguez, a Mexican-American singer/songwriter/guitar player from Detroit, who recorded two albums in the early 1970s, is an amazingly talented musician and lyricist, whose work has gone largely unrecognized in the United States until 2012.

While these albums never really took off in the US, bootleg copies of his music became a huge hit in South Africa, where he is considered a musical legend of greater talent, importance, and fame than even the Rolling Stones.

It was Rodriguez's words that inspired millions of people in South Africa to fight for the end of Apartheid. He inspired fans in Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and around the world, but having given up his music career to work as a laborer in Detroit, no one was able to track him down for decades.

Due to re-releases of his music, a brilliant documentary about his story (Searching for Sugar Man), a new tour, and an appearance as musical guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Rodriguez, now 70, is starting to receive the attention he has deserved for years.

Rodriguez never received royalties or financial compensation for his success -- and is unlikely to any time soon. He still lives in the same home in Detroit and works every day.

Now, we want to give Rodriguez the recognition he deserves with a Kennedy Center Honor. Though he was not included in the initial 2012 list of Honorees, we hope that Rodriguez will get some sort of special recognition in 2013.

Rodriguez is an inspiration to so many people around the world, but he has never received appropriate recognition for his significant contribution to the arts.

The Kennedy Center’s annual honors ceremony is considered one of the top honors for artists. Past recipients include Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and many other cherished individuals. What better way to give Rodriguez a small bit of the recognition and gratitude he deserves for his work?

Please join me in asking the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to honor Sixto Rodriguez.

On its website, the Kennedy Center says they welcome “grassroots nominations.” We must use this grassroots effort to make sure that Rodriguez is never forgotten again!

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 5,000 signatures
    2. We are close to 4,000 signatures, yet time is running out!

      Stephen Robert Morse
      Petition Organizer

      We are close to 4,000 signatures, yet still not a word from the folks in Washington D.C. I'm here in New York, where there's been a ton of damage, and it is still the words and wisdom of Sixto Rodriguez that I am thinking of to get through these tough days. Let's all make one final push by sharing this petition with friends and acquaintances to get Sixto the credit he deserves! If anyone has media contacts, please spread this petition to them. What will it take to get the folks who run the Kennedy Center to listen? I wonder...

    3. Reached 3,000 signatures
    4. Update: Rodriguez not among the 2012 honorees...YET!

      Stephen Robert Morse
      Petition Organizer

      Hello Rodriguez Supporters,

      The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees were just announced, and unsurprisingly, Sixto Rodriguez wasn't among the 2012 Honorees that consist of the following talents: bluesman Buddy Guy, actor Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin. This news doesn't stop us, and in fact, it propels us forward. We already know that David Letterman is one of Rodriguez's greatest fans, as he was visibly moved by the incredible story of Rodriguez. We also presume that the other honorees would be happy to share the stage with a person as talented and humble as Sixto.

      We are now updating this petition and actively advocating for the creation of an annual "Global Citizen Award," to honor a person who has not achieved a lifetime of consistent fame, a person who has been overlooked, like Sixto Rodriguez. So, please join us in spreading this updated petition, to give Rodriguez the recognition he deserves!

    5. Reached 1,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Joetta England NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ
      • about 1 month ago

      A true National treasure A man who has never lived his life in pursuit of money or fame but to express and inspire He is a true inspiration and his music is as relevant today as 40 years ago It makes me wonder how many more Sixto Rodriguezs are out there and not being heard

    • Alberto Sanz SPAIN
      • about 1 month ago

      At least, honor.

    • Ilse Petricek WIEN, AUSTRIA
      • about 1 month ago

      Weil mich die Person und seine Musik fasziniert hat.

    • Gabriele Petricek VIENNA, AUSTRIA
      • 2 months ago

      He and his music are outstanding !!

    • Darren Mercer LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      Alongside Bob Dylan, Pete Seger and Cat Stevens, he inspired my generation


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