Three days after Ariana Grande wrapped up her Dangerous Woman world tour, the pop star made a pit stop in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a unity concert in the wake of the race-related violence that engulfed the city earlier this summer.
Grande was one of a handful of artists who performed at A Concert for Charlottesville on Sunday night, including Justin Timberlake, Pharrell and Chris Martin.
The 24-year-old brought out the hits, delighting the crowd with performances of “Side to Side,” “Be Alright,” “One Last Time” and “Dangerous Woman,” but it was her message to her contemporaries in the audience that made the most impact.
“I just wanted to say really quickly how proud I am to be part of a generation that is so passionate about creating a change and making things better,“ Grande told the crowd made up of members of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville communities. “To be part of a generation that refuses to be silent, I’m so proud. Keep using your voices and making this a safer place for each other. I love you. Celebrate each other and our differences.”
Grande has become a beacon of hope for many after a deadly terror attack in the U.K. claimed the lives of at least 22 people and injured scores of others at the Manchester stop of her tour in May. Weeks later, she returned to the city to host a benefit concert, alongside artists like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.
During a discussion with photographer Danny Clinch before the Charlottesville concert, fellow performer and host Dave Matthews spoke to Grande’s resilience in the face of extreme violence.
“What Ariana’s been through ... This kind of unfocused, insane hatred ― this fearful hatred.” he said. “I don’t care if you’re a white supremacist or if you’re some radical, religious nut job. It’s the same thing. It’s fear and hatred and it’s primitive and it’s garbage. It’s not right and it’s not what the future should be. We should be learning from our history, not repeating ourselves.”
Grande hasn’t specified her desires for life post-world tour, but after everything she’s been through, we know she’s going to be alright.