As a substitute of the standard full of life musical efficiency, CMT Awards cohost Kelsea Ballerini opened Sunday night time’s present in a sobering means: She honored the six folks, together with three youngsters, who died throughout final week’s faculty taking pictures in Nashville.
“On March 27, 2023, three 9-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, together with Dr. Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak, and Mike Hill, walked into the Covenant Faculty and did not stroll out,” Ballerini mentioned. “The neighborhood of sorrow over this and the 130 mass shootings within the US this 12 months alone stretches from coast to coast.”
The singer then famous that she had beforehand been witness to a college taking pictures practically 15 years in the past.
“I wished to personally arise right here and share this second as a result of on Aug. 21, 2008, I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central Excessive Faculty, lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria,” Ballerini mentioned.
On the finish of Ballerini’s speech, she devoted the awards present, which occurred in Austin, Texas, to everybody affected by gun violence.
“Tonight’s broadcast is devoted to the ever-growing listing of households, pals, survivors, witnesses, and responders, whose lives proceed to ceaselessly be modified by gun violence,” she mentioned. “I pray deeply that the closeness and the neighborhood we really feel by means of the subsequent few hours of music can quickly flip into motion, like actual motion that strikes us ahead collectively to create change for the security of our children and our family members.”
This wasn’t the primary time Ballerini has opened up about witnessing gun violence. She notably included a poem titled “His Identify Was Ryan” in her 2021 e-book Really feel Your Method Via: A E-book of Poetry.
“With this specific state of affairs, I’ve by no means talked about it earlier than, however because the e-book was forming, I used to be realizing that if I’ll discuss in regards to the issues which have made me me, I definitely cannot keep away from this,” she mentioned throughout an interview with CBS Mornings in November of that 12 months.
She made one other political assertion Sunday night time through the awards present by performing her music “If You Go Down (I am Goin’ Down Too)” with drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. This comes as Tennessee is banning drag performances in public and the Texas Legislature is voting quickly on an analogous measure.