After a suicide bomber killed 22 people exiting her Manchester, England, concert May 22, Ariana Grande emphasized the need to "come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before" in a moving Twitter statement. Two weeks after the tragic event, the pop star has taken the lead on doing just that by hosting a One Love Manchester benefit concert along with an impressive roster of other musical talent Sunday night — all to support victims and their families through the We Love Manchester emergency fund. So, what exactly is the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, and how will the money raised help those who were the most directly affected by the stunning act of violence?
Grande announced specifics for the June 4 show last week, sharing with fans that Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Usher, One Direction’s Niall Horan, and the British boy band Take That would also perform at the epic benefit. According to the BBC, 50,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, located just about 3.5 miles from Manchester Arena, where the attack happened. About 14,000 free tickets were reserved for attendees of the original concert; The others sold out within minutes.
While some fans may have jumped on the opportunity to buy tickets because of the musical talent who had pledged to perform, there's undoubtedly an altruistic element to participating, as well: All of the proceeds raised will go to the We Love Manchester emergency fund, for which the Manchester city council and the British Red Cross partnered to set up. According to a JustGiving.com page of that same name, the fund has already raised £2 million (or about $2.6 million) in donations. With the goal to "help alleviate suffering and ensure that victims and their families do not face short-term financial difficulties," the fund is dedicated to assuaging the pain and burden on the injured and their families, as well as the families of those who were killed that awful night — many of whom were children, teenagers, and their parents.
Grande's own label, Universal Music Group, donated $500,000 to the fund ahead of the benefit concert.
Grande personally got a head start on bringing some light back into her fan's lives when she made a surprise visit to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to visit with some of the injured Friday. Besides producing some seriously heartwarming photos of the kids meeting the "Dangerous Woman" singer, this visit showed that Grande is dedicated to doing what she can to infuse love into an otherwise bleak situation.
And even those who can't be at the One Love Manchester concert in person can share in what will hopefully prove a healing night: It will be broadcast on television internationally. That way, fans all around the world can take Grande's advice to embrace the opportunity to be better to one another in the wake of a disturbing and terrifying attack.