Helping Us heal. Christina Aguilera and Melissa Etheridge both released singles this week, in honor of the 49 killed and 53 injured in the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Proceeds from each song will go towards those affected by the tragedy.
Aguilera, 35, dropped her new track, “Change,” an emotional ballad with lyrics directly referencing the lives lost in the horrific attack. “For all the brave and the souls who went before us / Stand tall, then proudly lift your voices,” the pop star belts. “Let ’em know who we are and our choices.”
The Voice coach released a statement on Friday, June 17, explaining why she felt moved to write “Change.” “The horrific tragedy that occurred in Orlando continues to weigh heavily on my mind. I am sending so much love and so many prayers to the victims and their families,” Aguilera stated. “Like so many, I want to help be part of the change this world needs to make it a beautiful inclusive place where humanity can love each other freely and passionately.”
“We all have the choice to spread love, encourage individuality and make a difference to others,” she added. “We are all in this together, as one, united in love.”
Etheridge, 55, who was equally heartbroken over the senseless massacre, wrote a song — aptly titled “Pulse” — to cope with the sad news. The proud lesbian and LGBT advocate opened up to Rolling Stone about the inspiration behind her latest tune.
“I’m dealing with it the way I deal, which is, I wrote a song,” she said. “I just sat here, and I just started writing a song… That’s how I first started to cope because, as a singer songwriter, I feel very… I’ve done this before. I feel called to speak; to do what musicians do,” the Grammy winner told RS. “…You just start thinking about your own pulse. It’s the way I’ve always felt about the gay movement, the gay issue. Here we are — people who are loving; we are fighting for who we want to love.”
In one verse, Etheridge seems to take aim at Omar Mateen, the gunman who carried out what is now the deadliest shooting in American history: “Who you gonna hate now? / When there’s no one left but you? / Who you gonna gun down? / If you can’t kill the truth / That it’s inside of us / Inside our blood / Inside our pulse.”
As previously reported, Mateen opened fire inside the LGBT club around 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, shortly after he allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS’ leader. Despite reports that he had visited Pulse many times prior to his rampage and had a history of messaging men on gay dating apps, his father, Seddique Mir Mateen, has vehemently denied that his son was “radicalized” or gay.
Listen to Etheridge’s song here and Aguilera’s above.
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