By Marlee Pinchok, Point Park University - Kesha headlined the “Stronger than Hate” concert Saturday in downtown Pittsburgh, a week after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Originally named “Countdown 2 Vote,” the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh renamed the concert “Stronger than Hate,” a phrase people across the region adopted to show respect for the lives lost at Tree of Life. All the proceeds from the concert will go directly to the Jewish Federation’s Victims of Terror Fund.
Logan LaMaster, 20, went to the concert and talked about the decision to rename it.
“While the previous title, ‘Countdown to Vote,’ was geared directly towards voting, I still think ‘Stronger than Hate’ also helps with pushing that same idea. Since there has been a lot of attacks at concerts and attacks on peoples’ lives, we have to show that we are stronger than that. I think that’s really important to why the name was changed.”
The lively concert, which took place outside on Liberty Avenue between 9th and 10th streets, brought in thousands of energetic fans. A large banner that read “Stronger than Hate,” bordered the top section of the stage, while multiple “Pittsburgh Pride” tents lined the street. Kesha has made fighting for LGBTQ rights one of her signature platforms.
Noelle Trimper, 18, expressed her excitement before the concert.
“I have been listening to Kesha ever since I was little, and this is actually my first concert, so I’m super excited. Due to the shooting that just happened, it’s going to be a very heartfelt and touching night. But I also think that it’s going to be fun overall, and will be able to get the community back together with happy spirits.”
While making it a priority to entertain her fans with music, Kesha also took the initiative to speak out on issues. She proudly wore a fan’s LGBTQ pride flag, encouraged everyone to vote, and sang her song “Praying,” highlighting victims of sexual assault. Right before she sang the empowering hit, she said, “This song is for anyone who needs it.”
Kesha frequently notified her audience of her appreciation for everyone who attended.
“Thank you to everyone here tonight that has come together to celebrate love and acceptance and hope. So I’m so sorry, but I just really feel like love really does trump fear, and love does trump hate. So no matter where you came from, what color your skin is, what God you believe in or you don’t believe in, what your sexual preference is, what your gender identity is, whatever it is, you are welcomed here tonight.”
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