When I first heard about the Manchester terror attack, I was in the middle of a conversation with my friends, discussing the songs that our younger selves had overplayed to a sickening extent. Music can play a crucial role in uniting people: it has the power to bring those who share interests in specific artists or genres closer together. The notion of people coalescing through music was fundamental to the emergence of Jazz in America during the twentieth-century. It is clear that what was considered solely as a genre of music became an entire culture; Jazz symbolised integrity and harmony.
However, the detonation of a bomb at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester alters this peaceful portrayal of music. As a result of the attack, the gig environment is now a target, and is associated with social disruption and the accumulation of fear. Videos from inside the arena have been shared profusely on social media, showing how horrifying and shocking the atmosphere was. The audience, which was predominantly young people, were faced with life-threatening brutality; and it is now reported that twenty-two people have died from the incident, and many others injured. This death count is significantly higher in comparison to the attack on Westminster earlier this year where there were five civilians who lost their lives, emphasising how truly destructive the catastrophe was.
Despite this utter violence and monstrous conduct, the world remains united through music. Many artists showed support on Twitter, and sent love to those who were affected: Harry Styles tweeted that he was “heartbroken over what happened”, Katy Perry stated that she was “praying for everyone” at the show, Taylor Swift’s “thoughts, prayers and tears” were for all of those affected by the event. All of these pop artists, and many others, who showed support are highly influential within the music industry and reminded us to ‘choose love’ over hate. The world chose not to turn the event into an attack on religion and race, and focused on helping people reunite with family and friends.
My heart reaches out to all of those whose lives were lost – and those who have lost someone – during the attack. It is clear that music is an instrument of peace and love; it has the power to transcend monstrous violence and remind the world that we will stand together to defeat extremism.