Country music’s biggest stars are honouring those affected by the mass school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville at the 2023 CMT Music Awards.
On Sunday, several stars in attendance at the awards show wore black ribbons to honor the victims from Monday’s mass shooting at the Nashville, Tennessee private school. The shooting, which marked Tennessee’s deadliest mass shooting in history, left three children and three adults dead, in addition to the shooter.
“You know why it is important? Today is Psalm Sunday and I’m a very religious person and what better way to honor them and support them,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant tells ET about the band’s decision to wear ribbons on the red carpet. “Everybody say prayers for the family. They need lifting up.”
Agreeing with his bandmate, Rickey Medlocke shares his sympathy for those mourning loved ones, saying, “I feel for the ones that lost their loved ones… My heart goes out to all of them and prayers for them.”
Newlyweds Lily Rose and Daira Eamon also sported the tribute ribbons, with the singer sharing how “heartbreaking” it felt to witness a tragedy so close to home. “If it happened anywhere else in the country it still would be heartbreaking but it was a little too close to home, in our backyard, and our hearts are with the families,” Rose says.
Ashley McBryde shared similar sentiments, reflecting on how, although it may seem “backward” to attend an award show so soon after a tragedy, Sunday night’s festivities are a “space for healing.”
“It almost seems [that] with everything that was lost last week, it almost seems a little bit backward to be able to come together and celebrate music tonight,” she says to ET. “But country music is good at bringing us together and creating space for healing. And that’s what we’ll be able to do tonight.”
Local Nashville artists were in attendance during a candlelight vigil held to honor the shooting’s victims on Wednesday, including Sheryl Crow and Margo Price, an outspoken advocate for gun safety.
Crow, who has been a Nashville-area resident for more than 15 years, accompanied herself at a piano to sing “I Shall Believe,” a hymn-like track from her 1993 album, Tuesday Night Music Club.
“Come to me now, and lay your hands on me,” Crow sang. “Say it will be all right, and I shall believe.” She ended the song with the chorus of Dionne Warwick’s “What the World Needs Now (Is Love, Sweet Love).”
Price, also performed, singing an acappella version of Bob Dylan’s “Tears of Rage.”
Both Price and Crow spoke out on social media in the wake of Monday’s fatal shooting, calling not just for gun safety but an end to the senseless violence that continues in this country.
Also in attendance, was first lady Jill Biden, along with a host of local and state elected officials, police officers, and clergy members. Dr. Biden did not speak at the event, but stood silently and solemnly as she watched the proceedings. Back in Washington, D.C., her husband, President Joe Biden, has been calling on Congress to ban assault weapons in response to the Covenant shootings.
The 2023 CMT Music Awards airs live on CBS and is streaming on Paramount+. For more coverage of the big event, including all of the night’s winners, keep checking back with ETonline.
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