BY CARLISA JOHNSON
On May 22nd, what was supposed to be a fun-filled night turned devastating as a suicide bomber left 22 dead and 119 injured outside an Ariana Grande concert. The lives lost, some being children, left the star feeling “broken.” Less than two weeks later though, Grande fought back with love and held One Love Manchester, a benefit concert Sunday night in the UK city in remembrance of the Manchester attack victims. The show was held at Emirates Old Trafford and special guests included: Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, Take That, Mac Miller, Little Mix, Imogen Heap, Marcus Mumford, Pharrell Williams, Liam Gallagher and Miley Cyrus.
The concert began with applauding the injured victims of the attack as they walked into the arena, and then all 50,000 attendees held a moment of silence to honor the victims. Marcus Mumford opened One Love Manchester by saying, “Let’s not be afraid,” and continued with Mumford and Sons’ 2009 hit “Timshel.” The song united the crowd for what would be an emotional but empowering night.
One of the stronger messages of the concert was illustrated in the Black Eyed Peas’ performance of “Where is the Love” with Grande. Will.i.am began the song saying, “We will not be separated,” and ended it with heart-shaped hands thrown to the sky. Imogen Heap followed with a tearful performance of “Hide and Seek” at the piano.
Grande made several appearances throughout the show and at one point, thanked the crowd and talked about meeting the mother of one young victim, Olivia. Olivia’s mother confessed that her daughter would have wanted to hear the hits, which led to Grande drastically changing the show at the last minute.
Some special guests Grande invited on stage were students in the Parrs Wood High School choir that joined her for a touching performance of “My Everything.” Later on, Miley Cyrus and Grande captivated the audience with their heartwarming friendship and duet of “Don’t Dream It's Over.” The two are friends through the Happy Hippie Foundation, which was founded by Cyrus and fights for the rights of the homeless youth, LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable populations.
After a few Grande hits, Katy Perry looked like an actual angel in all white during her stripped-back performance of “Part of Me” and then her empowered “Roar.” Justin Bieber followed with an acoustic version of “Cold Water,” a declaration of his faith, and a tearful tribute to the attack’s victims.
Coldplay took the stage and made sure to return their love to Grande in their rendition of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” The whole audience joined in on the love, as well. Coldplay continued with emotional hit “Fix You” and took a happier note with “Viva la Vida” and “Something Just Like This.”
Closing the benefit concert, Grande sang “One Last Time” with guest artists, then expressed her gratitude through her tears and hugged her guests before they left the stage. Honoring the night and its purpose, Grande finished with a powerful version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
By the end of the night, One Love Manchester raised around $9 million for British Red Cross, which will benefit the people of Manchester. After the amount of money raised and hope given to people worldwide, One Love Manchester was not only successful, but also necessary expressing the solidarity against acts of hatred. To donate to the British Red Cross fund for Manchester, visit: beta.redcross.org.uk. And due to the recent London attack, British Red Cross has also set up a UK Solidarity Fund for victims of terror attacks anywhere in the UK. To donate, you can visit: JustGiving.