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ariana grande raised over $13 million for the victims of the manchester attacks

Last night, Ariana Grande hosted the "One Love Manchester" concert. It was emotional and heartwarming and I cried a little bit. Okay, I cried a lot.

by Georgie Wright
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Jun 5 2017, 8:45pm

This article was originally published by i-D UK. 

Taking place just 13 days after the monstrous attack at Ariana's Manchester gig, nothing could be more of a middle finger to the terrorists that executed it than last night's outpouring of love and support and smiles and tears and pink balloons and joy. Not to mention that over the course of the three hours the concert took place, a cool $3 million was raised for the victims of the attack — bringing the total donated to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund to over $13 million. Not a bad feat for a gig pulled together in a mere week.

The benefit was inevitably dotted with a bunch of absolute tearjerkers — Robbie Williams singing "Angels," the Black Eyed Peas singing "Where Is the Love," and even Coldplay singing "Fix You." And then there was Ariana singing along with a choir and her mini-me, who will probably definitely now be signed by her manager Scooter Braun. It's hard to do the feels these tunes induced justice, because on paper it all looks a bit like the Noughties Greatest Hits meets Live Aid, both of which have received their fair share of backlash over the years.

But this was different. Here were the kids who'd actually been at the initial gig, and parents who'd suffered the most excruciating search for them, and then some. Audiences tuned in from across the UK and around the world, just a day after another sickening attack, this time in London.

This was a 23-year-old woman dealing with an incomprehensible situation in the most remarkably composed and empathetic and powerful way. This was the optimism that keeps us keeping on, keeps us feeling ok, and keeps us smiling in otherwise pretty bleak times.

But lest you think it was all red eyes and snotty tissues, there was also a stream of bloody bangers pumped out by an all star line up spanning Miley Cyrus, Pharrell, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Manchester's very own Liam Gallagher.

I mean, Ariana even played "Side to Side," a song about not being able to walk properly after a v heavy romp in the sack. Now, that may seem a little at odds with the evening's theme. Except that she prefaced the performance by saying that she'd recently visited the mom of one of the victims, 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, who'd told her to "stop crying, because Olivia wouldn't have wanted [her] to cry… Olivia would have wanted [her] to play the hits." And then Ariana giggled, and busted out "Side to Side," and everyone danced, and I burst into tears again.

Because it is frankly quite cathartic to see a 50,000 strong crowd chanting "I GIVE ZERO FUCKS AND I GOT ZERO CHILL IN ME." Because yes, these attacks are terrifying, and we are absolutely not chill about them. But we're also going to keep living our lives and giving as few fucks as possible, because there is shit to do and songs to shriek to and lolz to have and people to love.

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Text Georgie Wright