No one could blame any artist who wanted to cancel their live shows after the Ariana Grande concert bombing in Manchester. But Harry Styles decided the show must go on — just in a different way than he had originally planned. According to Uproxx, Styles turned his Mexico City show into a Manchester tribute, honoring the 22 people who died and the more than 59 people who were injured in the terrorist attack. “I’ve played some of my favorite shows in Mexico, and it felt right to come and celebrate with you, but tonight doesn’t feel like a night to celebrate," Styles said. "Last night, there was a tragedy in my hometown of Manchester, and I have been left with a hole in my heart.”
The singer told the crowd he has fond memories of the Manchester Arena. It was where he saw his first concert, and he "had some of the best experiences of my life playing in Manchester" with his band One Direction. It's why Styles decided to honor those who were lost with an acoustic set of songs off his self-titled debut.
While it was a more somber show than fans may have originally expected, the singer's decision to make this particular concert more intimate was a way to bring his fans together for just a few hours. It made a concert venue once again feel like a safe space where you can be whoever it is you are at a time when there are those who want to convince you it isn't.
Knowing how much Styles appreciates and respects his young female fans — he made the point in a recent Rolling Stone interview that no one should underestimate the young women who like his music — it's no surprise that he wanted his fans to find strength in tragedy, to know there are others out there like them who are confused and frightened over what happens next and that they don't have to feel that way alone. He wanted them to know they have the power to choose to keep going, to thrive, despite those who would like to see them give up.
“We have a choice, every single day that we wake up, of what we can put into the world," Styles told the crowd. "And I ask you to please choose love every single day.”
It's a hopeful statement at a time when we could all use a little more of it.