Soon after a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens more as they left her show in Manchester, England, last week, a traumatized and "broken" Ariana Grande traveled back to her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, to be with family. The pop star has reached out to her fans and supporters since the tragic event, though, tweeting her condolences and even announcing that she'll soon return to the city for a benefit concert. And in addition to dealing with the fact that his sister was that close to a terrorist attack, Ariana Grande's brother, Frankie, tweeted after the Manchester bombing to urge his follower to "spread a message of love, unity," and empowerment to fight back against terror.
The series of tweets posted Sunday marked the first time that Grande spoke publicly about the horrendous attack, for which the terrorist group ISIS has claimed credit. "My prayers, thoughts, meditations & strength has been focused on those families and victims affected by the horrific tragedy in Manchester," the 34-year-old YouTube personality wrote. He added that he believes it's important for people not to permit the cycle of hate feeding hate and fear feeding fear to continue. Instead, he insisted, those whose instinct it is to condemn the murders (so, the vast majority) should promote a message of love, unity and empowerment in response.
Just hours that news of the attack began to dominate international headlines, the pop star herself tweeted her first public reaction. "broken," she wrote. "from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words." Soon, unconfirmed reports that she had offered to pay for victims' funerals began making the rounds, as did an touching anecdote that her mother had ushered confused and scared fans backstage after they heard the bomb detonate outside just after the show, part of Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman Tour, wrapped up. On Friday, Ariana Grande announced that she plans to return to Manchester to give a benefit concert, although an exact date has not yet been set.
In a statement on Twitter, the 23-year-old praised her fans and explained her reasoning for heading back to Manchester, writing in part:
From the day we started putting the Dangerous Woman Tour together, I said that this show, more than anything else, was intended to be a safe space for my fans. A place for them to escape, to celebrate, to heal, to feel safe and to be themselves. To meet their friends they’ve made online. To express themselves. This will not change that.
Clearly, Ariana Grande has no intention of backing down when confronted so directly with terror. And neither does her brother. "& so I say, as I have before, shine bright, & when evil comes 2drown out your light, 3throw shade over your beautiful soul, shine brighter!" he tweeted.
Frankie Grande concluded his Twitter message by sharing a crowdfunding page accepting donations to support the families of the 22 killed and the more than 59 people who were injured.