MTV revived its classic series TRL on Monday, and the reboot began on a solemn note. TRL aired a video tribute to the Las Vegas victims that served as an anti-gun PSA that called for viewers to take action to help prevent gun violence. One of the show's new hosts, DC Young Fly, opened the inaugural episode by acknowledging the mass shooting that left 58 dead and over 500 injured in Las Vegas on Sunday, Oct. 1.
He said, "Last night in Las Vegas, a horrible tragedy took place. It was the deadliest mass shooting in our country's history. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. For us, it hits especially hard because it took place at a concert packed with people of all ages coming together to share a common bond — the love of music." The show then directed viewers to Everytown.org, an organization devoted to ending gun violence in America.
Throughout the episode, TRL continued to honor the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. In between Ed Sheeran's live performances and interviews with other musicians, like Migos, the new TRL made time for a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives in the attack. DJ Khaled also addressed the audience, saying, "It's important that we all pray more. God is great. There's a lot of things going on in the world right now. We have to spread more love right now. Let's pray for our people in Vegas, Mexico, Houston Florida, Puerto Rico — everywhere worldwide."
TRL's first episode had a number of technical issues — kinks that will hopefully be worked out as new episodes continue to air this week. However, MTV's commitment to not shying away from Monday's tragedy, and having the hosts and guests stand together to make a powerful statement about gun violence made it clear that TRL would not be avoiding talking about serious subjects. Given how issue-oriented many of the series' younger viewers are, it's important that the series doesn't shy away from these more difficult conversations.
In addition to featuring Everytown.org onscreen throughout most of the show, the series also used its Twitter feed to make sure its position on the subject of gun violence was clear. The official TRL page tweeted,
"we condemn gun violence and domestic terrorism in the strongest terms, and we as a country must do more to address gun safety. at its core, #TRL is a show about the power of young voices. in the face of tragedy, the last thing young voices should do is remain silent."
Throughout the late '90s and '00s, the original TRL acted as a touchstone for a generation. The series was one of the first New York-based series to return to production in the wake of 9/11, and original host Carson Daly addressed young fans whose entire world had changed, by saying, "It's just been a hell of a week here in New York. All over the country and all over the world, for that matter." It was a powerful moment, and it seems the new incarnation of the show is just as determined to face tragedy head-on.
TRL's anti-gun PSA is a reminder of the impact pop culture can have in times of crisis. When those behind our favorite TV shows take a stand, they not only encourage viewers to do the same, but they give people the information they need to be pro-active during times of tragedy. Advocating for common-sense gun laws is an important cause to champion, especially in the wake of another devastating shooting.
If you are looking for immediate ways to help the Las Vegas victims, donating blood, giving to the Red Cross, and looking out for GoFundMe pages in support of the injured are all good places to start. America's heart is broken right now, and while a PSA won't mend it, TRL's devotion to speaking out for the victims should be commended.