Why Kelly Clarkson refused to stay silent on gun crime at Billboard Music Awards

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Kayleigh Dray
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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 20: Host Kelly Clarkson speaks onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“I’m so sick of moments of silence,” said Kelly Clarkson.

Before the Billboard Music Awards kicked off on Sunday (21 May), Kelly Clarkson – who was hosting the event – took a moment to address the school shooting that took place on Friday at Santa Fe High School in Texas, USA.

“Tonight, they wanted me to say, obviously we want to pray for all the victims, we want to pray for their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence,” she said.

“And I’m so sick of moments of silence. It’s not working, like, obviously. So why don’t we not do a moment of silence? Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change? Why don’t we change what’s happening, because it’s horrible?”

Clarkson continued: “Mums and dads should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theatres, to clubs… you should be able to live your life without that kind of fear. So we need to do better, we need to do better, we’re failing our children, we’re failing our communities, we’re failing their families.

“I can’t imagine [how those people are feeling right now],” she added. “I have four children, I cannot imagine getting that phone call or that knock on the door.

“So instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect them, and honour them. So tonight, y’all, let’s in your community, where you live, your friends, everybody, let’s have a moment of action. Let’s have a moment of change.”

It is worth noting that, in an interview with Billboard prior to the event, Clarkson didn’t indicate that she was planning to use her BBMAs platform to discuss serious social issues.

“We’re at the Billboard awards, not pushing legislation,” she told the magazine.

“I would love to find that happy balance of addressing things that should be addressed but also celebrating music. I don’t want to take away artists’ moments.”

This suggests that she did not seek approval for her rousing speech, which has been widely praised on Twitter.

According to US reports, the alleged shooter – 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis – is being held without bail and is accused of capital murder of multiple people and aggravated assault on a public servant. He has not entered a plea.

Police say that Pagourtzis used a shotgun and a revolver (both of which were legally owned by his father) to shoot students and teachers, killing at least 10 people and wounding 13 others.

Governor Abbott called the shooting “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools”.

“It’s impossible to describe the magnitude of the evil of someone who would attack innocent children in a school,” he said.

President Donald Trump, speaking at a prison reform event at the White House, described the attack as “absolutely horrific”.

“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others,” he said.

The president’s comments come just two weeks after he reiterated his call to arm teachers with guns during a speech in Dallas to the National Rifle Association.

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.