Shawn Mendes Performs With Majory Stoneman Douglas Choir
The Billboard Music Awards were Sunday night, and the evening was riddled with powerful performances. Ariana Grande's evocative opening act set the tone for the evening.
But Shawn Mendes put on "Youth" as a tribute to the victims and survivors of tragic school shootings.
As you can see in the video that we have included, he had help — from fellow singer Khalid, and from surviving students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Shawn Mendes is 19 years old, so he doesn't just have to relate to teenagers — he is one.
Though he also performed "In My Blood," which was much more upbeat and designed to please the crowd, when he and Khalid got up and sang "Youth," it was a clear tribute to both survivors and victims of school shootings.
And many read it as an indictment of the numerous politicians and special interests who are fighting gun reform efforts that could save countless innocent lives.
But in case it was not perfectly clear, Mendes had survivors of the Parkland shooting up on stage with him.
They weren't there as props — they were singing.
These were Marjory Stoneman Douglas choir students.
Though surely this particular performance had been planned for a while, the timing was tragically appropriate.
Just last week, the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas claimed even more innocent lives.
Once again, the murderer was a disaffected young male with a lot of anger … and with access to an AK-47.
Some are tentatively hopeful that November's midterm elections will see new politicians in office who are willing to actually take action, as so many countries have done, to prevent these tragedies.
Mendes' music isn't going to make that happen, but it can be a rallying cry for the voters who can make that dream a reality.
Shawn Mendes has plenty of stans who were in attendance in the audience.
Kpop fans were delighted to spot Jungkook bobbing his head and dancing along with "In My Blood."
There was actually a hilarious moment in the audience during that song.
Notably, Taylor Swift and Camila Cabello were standing and dancing in the crowd during "in My Blood."
Seated just a couple of rows behind them, Darren Criss used his phone to record himself entertained and pretending to be frustrated by Taylor and Camila obstructing his view.
The stars are "just like us" in many ways — they can be moved by each other's music.
But they can also get annoyed with each other over it.
As you'll see in the video, Hailey Baldwin was also in the audience.
Last November, rumors began to swirl that Shawn Mendes and Hailey Baldwin were dating.
Reports claimed that they were intensely cozy, and they've gone out and about together. They even attended the MET Gala together.
However, Hailey has claimed that the two are merely very good friends.
That claim of friendship has done nothing to help Shawn dodge the persistent gay rumors that have followed him for years.
Believing that someone is gay or bi and closeted is fine, whether you're correct or not. Calling them out as such on social media is unkind.
Sexuality is about as personal as it gets.
It was so good of Shawn Mendes to use his platform and the Billboard Music Awards for such a good message.
It was also good of Khalid, who is a newer name in the music world and whose name seems to be forgotten by many talking about this performance, to lend his voice and talents to the song.
We all hope to see a better tomorrow in which children are safe from death and horror.