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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Stay Amped Concert: Don’t you know that the kids aren’t all right?

Stay Amped Concert: Don’t you know that the kids aren’t all right?

For one night only, musicians and activists came together to put on a show that no one would forget. With some fans waiting hours in the cold March wind and others driving from places as far as Ohio to make the show, the Stay Amped benefit concert gave a new image to how much music can actively create change.

In support of the organizations Every Town for Gun Safety and Gifford’s: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, the night highlighted both victims and survivors of gun violence, in addition to the triumph of initiatives that are set on changing the world.

In front of an elated crowd, Nza-Ari Khepra, the founder of the youth violence awareness organization Project Orange Tree ushered in the start of the show.

She began  the organization after the death of Hadiya Pendelton, who was killed in a 2013 shooting in Chicago.

Intermittently throughout the night were introductions by those who had lost friends and family members to gun violence, such as The Sandy Hook shooting and the Parkland shooting. Along with sentiments from those affected were video messages from NBA star Carmelo Anthony, comedian and host of  “Full Frontal”Samantha Bee, musician Tom Morello and many others. All of these celebrities expressed their support for the movement, and commended this generation’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Members from the group Girls Be Heard kicked off the night with  a powerful spoken word piece dedicated to the victims of the gun violence epidemic. Their performance detailed the various travesties caused by senseless gun violence, projecting the resounding message that “enough is enough.”

This was followed by a stunning performance by country singer Cam, who began with an emotional version of a song she co-wrote with singer Sam Smith entitled “Palace.” earinga pink shirt with the word “BULLSHIT” printed in the center, which is a direct nod to the words of Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez, Cam belted out the lyric “real love is never a waste of time. ”

Following Cam was an energetic performance by alternative hip hop artist Lizzo. While her performance was pretty electric, she did take a few moments to slow it down and spread messages of body positivity and self-love with songs like “My Skin.”

One moment that was particularly emotional was when she detailed her family’s close encounter with gun violence. She explained to the audience that a movie theatre her family would frequent when she was younger was the Century 16 theatre in Aurora, Colorado, which was where a mass shooting during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” occurred. Brought to tears by the memory, she finished out the performance strong, while reminding the crowd to love themselves just as much as they love others.

Another powerful woman to make her way to the stage was Bebe Rexha, whose set had the room completely buzzing. Rexha was introduced by YouTuber Miles McKenna, who, along with singer/songwriter Alex G, was there to represent activists of the LGBQT community.

Throughout her set, Rexha made multiple impassioned pleas for the need for our safety, reminding people that it is time for change and that we are the ones who can create it.

“Music can be something powerful,” said rapper G-Eazy, who performed after. “This is about ending the violence and spreading love and positivity. We have to protect each other.”

His set, which was visually stunning, included some of his bigger hit collaborations such as “No Limit” with Cardi B and ASAP Rocky, “Him & I” with his girlfriend and fellow musician Halsey, and “Me, Myself & I” with Bebe Rexha who returned to the stage to perform alongside him.

Once G-Eazy’s set concluded, the final  introducertook to the stage. This was Sheryl Aquaroli from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, who dedicated a moment to her friend Helena who died while protecting a fellow classmate during the shooting.

Inspiring others by her friend’s bravery, Aquaroli gave an impassioned plea to the importance of the march that was scheduled for the following day. “We are all marching because we know we have a voice. I plan to use my voice for my friend who can’t anymore.” She concluded with the powerful message, “the way their voices can be heard is through ours.”

To finish off the event was headliner Fall Out Boy, who curated the lineup for the event. Their thirty-minute set included some older hits such as “Dance, Dance” and “Thanks For The Memories,” while also playing some newer songs like “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Uma Thurman,” and “Centuries.”

One song that they deliberately chose to highlight was their song “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, a song that they acknowledged they do not perform often, but  had specific significance for the night. “This is a youth movement,” Pete Wentz told the crowd, “and we just want to be the soundtrack to that tonight. If you leave here knowing anything, leave here knowing you are very powerful.”

The night concluded with this important message  of how powerful the movers and shakers of this generation are. Yet, while the music may have ended, the movement never will. The turnout of the March For Our Lives in cities across the world proved that people are ready to call “BS” and remind our leaders that enough is enough. The voices of Stay Amped were the soundtrack for a weekend that would forever change the world.

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Stay Amped Concert: Don’t you know that the kids aren’t all right?