Britney Spears, RuPaul + More Recorded A Powerful Anthem For Orlando
Last night, 24 of the music industry’s biggest artists honored the prolonged grief that the LGBTQ community has been feeling in the weeks following the massacre in Orlando. The song they came together to record is called “Hands,” and it features vocals from Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, RuPaul, Adam Lambert, and over a dozen more. If you haven’t heard it yet, stop what you’re doing and listen to the beautiful lyrics that hit songwriters Justin Trantor and Julia Michaels penned in the aftermath of the mass shooting during Pulse’s “Latin Night” on June 12. It’s a beautiful ode to the strength of love in the shadow of terror—and it’ll probably make you cry a lot.
How did this charity record from Interscope Records and GLAAD come together to become a star-studded anthem of resilience? It all began when Trantor, who has been fighting for LGBT rights since coming out at age 14, walked off Selena Gomez’s tour bus and walked into The Center Orlando, the region’s biggest LGBT community center. “I called them and said, ‘If I fly up is there something for me to help with?'” he told Billboard. “They say, ‘We need as many hands as we can possibly get.'” The next day, he arrived in Orlando and met GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, who helped inspire him to write the track while they worked as volunteers.
“When you hear the song it talks about hate being the driver here,” she said about “Hands.” “That’s important because we have to be able to identify what’s driving these cruel acts in order to stop them. Artists using their platforms to accelerate acceptance is very powerful.”
As word spread through the music industry that a fundraising song was in the works, artists from all genres came together to record from their homes, studios, and even on their own tour busses between shows. Now out on iTunes, “Hands” will donate all proceeds to help aid families with medical care and provide counseling, as well as providing much-needed education to ensure that this tragedy never happens again.
“This was an American guy who was born in Queens,” Ellis says of the gunman. “He learned that hate here in America. This happened on American soil, against a particular community.” Now, thanks to the work of Trantor and the 24 artists who came together, the community can move forward together with a new anthem of resilience.
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