Kelly Clarkson Tearfully Addresses Gun Violence In Powerful Billboard Music Awards Speech

"Let's have a moment of action."

Billboard Music Awards host Kelly Clarkson opened Sunday night's event by addressing Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School, in her home state of Texas, in which 10 people were killed. "This is gonna be so hard," Clarkson said, apologizing as she fought back tears.

The singer explained how the BBMAs had wanted her to open the show. "Tonight, they wanted me to say that obviously we want to pray for all the victims, we want to pray for their families. But they also wanted me to do a moment of silence," she said, adding, "I'm so sick of moment of silence. It's not working."

Clarkson suggested a "moment of action" or a "moment of change" to address gun violence instead. "Why don't we change what's happening? Because it's horrible," she said. "And mommies and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs — you should be able to live your life without that kind of fear. So we need to do better."

According to the Huffington Post, Clarkson went on to introduce Ariana Grande, who performed her new single "No Tears Left to Cry." It was an appropriate transition, as Grande wrote the uplifting song after 22 people were killed in a bombing at her Manchester concert last year. 

Clarkson's speech wasn't the only tribute to victims of gun violence at Sunday's event. Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined on the stage by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas choir for a performance of their song "Youth." In February, 17 people were killed in a shooting at the Florida high school.

"We're very, very overdue for a change and I felt like tonight was super impactful and I was just super honored to be able to do that with them," Mendes told Billboard after the performance. "I've never experienced goosebumps like that on stage before. It was really, really special."

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