A lot went down at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Janet Jackson performed live on television for the first time in nine years (and became the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award), and Taylor Swift won Top Selling Album of the Year for reputation, however, the ceremony was ultimately a bittersweet affair as presenters and performers were left to acknowledge the horrific shooting that occurred only two days earlier in Sante Fe, Texas on May 18.
It became the 22nd mass school shooting of 2018, further fueling the debate of gun control laws and obliterating all hope for unity in a time it is needed most. But for anyone who tuned in on Sunday, celebrities used their platform(s) to not only honor victims of gun violence, but also to foster further awareness. Host Kelly Clarkson went against the wishes of producers and directors opting for a call to action rather than a moment of silence, and in another act of moving tribute: Khalid and Shawn Mendes' performance of "Youth."
"You can't take my youth away," they sang in unison with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Choir (who survived the devastating Parkland shooting earlier this year). As cameras panned throughout the audience, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Kalid, wearing a t-shirt that read "Protect our
guns children," and Mendes in a black "Youth" hoodie, proved the performance made not only an auditory statement but a sartorial one as well.