Political News

Charlottesville native Boyd Tinsley: 'This is not what we're about'

Posted August 15

Less than three days since deadly violence ripped through central Virginia, one of the community's most beloved icons joined CNN with a message of unity and support.

"Charlottesville is such a diverse community. People here just love each other," said Boyd Tinsley, the acclaimed "Dave Matthews Band" violinist.

Born in Charlottesville in 1964 and forever associated with the city through his music and love of local tennis, Tinsley emphasized a stark contrast between the weekend's attacks and the spirit of the city.

"This is not Charlottesville. This is not what we're about," he told Brooke Baldwin during Tuesday's episode of "CNN Newsroom." "Color is just not a big thing here. There's never really been a big racial problem at all, or any really racial problem at all in Charlottesville. So, just the thought of this is pretty mind-boggling."

Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer was killed Saturday in Charlottesville when a car plowed into a crowd gathered to oppose a "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups. Nineteen others were injured in the incident.

A 20-year-old man from Ohio, James Alex Fields Jr., is charged with second-degree murder in Heyer's death.

Tinsley attended the University of Virginia, and became a regular fixture in the local music scene. In 1991 he teamed with Dave Matthews on a demo tape version of the song "Tripping Billies," joined the band shortly thereafter, and has been with the group in the near quarter-century since. In his time as part of the Charlottesville community, Tinsley said, incidents of bigotry and racial divide have been virtually nonexistent.

"I've never seen anything like this before," he told Baldwin. "It got me angry and it's gotten everyone in this community angry, and I think around the nation and probably around the world."

Toward the end of his live conversation with the CNN anchor, Tinsley was asked for his reaction to Donald Trump's response in the days since the Charlottesville attacks.

"I don't have any comment on what the President does ... it's not that I don't have an opinion," he clarified, before adding, "I just don't have a comment."

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