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Gun violence in America: How the music community responded

Jennifer Lopez, Jay Z, Christina Aguilera, and more have released tribute singles for victims

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; James Devaney/WireImage; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Unspeakable acts of violence — like the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead and 53 injured or the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers — often bring people together during the healing process. Over the course of the last month, top artists from the music world have proven their commitment to helping unite broken communities through the power of song by releasing new music aimed at raising awareness about issues of gun violence and police brutality. 

Proceeds from some tracks, like Christina Aguilera’s “Change” or Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Love Make the World Go Round,” have gone directly toward benefitting victims of the deadly nightclub massacre, while others, like Jay Z’s “Spiritual,” inspire listeners to end a cycle of violence that has claimed countless lives. 

From Britney Spears, RuPaul, and Miguel to Swizz Beatz, My Morning Jacket, and Solange, listen to the music community’s sonic responses to current events in the songs below. 

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Victoria Monét’s  “Better Days,” featuring frequent collaborator Ariana Grande, includes lyrics like, “Baby, there’s a war outside our window, but it’s gon’ be all right as long as I got you,” serving as a reminder that the future can be bright if we forge on with love, positivity, and peace in the face of violence. “Too many precious live were taken from us this week, this month, this year,” Grande wrote about the track on Instagram. “Stay strong and know that better days are coming.”

Monét echoed Grande’s sentiment. “I’m heartbroken by all of the recent tragedies [that] came as a result of hatred, racism, and injustice,” she said. “To all of the lives taken pointlessly, we will not let you be forgotten. You have sparked change in this world with your angel wings. Rest In Peace.”

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