Justin Bieber opened his Justice Tour show in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, May 14 with a moment of silence for the victims of the gun massacre that occurred just hours prior at a local grocery store. The horrific tragedy, which left 10 dead, is being investigated as a hate crime and “an act of racially-motivated violent extremism,” the US attorney general said in a statement. The pop star shared a clip of the concert moment to his Instagram and called out fans who didn’t stay silent to “honor the lives that were so tragically lost.”
In a following post, the “Sorry” singer shared another video from his performance where he spoke out against racism. “When we first decided to name this tour the Justice tour and the Justice album, we wanted to make an intentional moment where everyone felt the love, they felt included, they felt a moment of unity because as we know there’s so much division in this world, so much racial injustice,” he said on stage. “And as you and I both know, racism is evil and it is diabolical.”
“But what you and I get to do is be the difference makers,” he continued. “We get to be the people who continue to have the conversations with our friends and our family and our loved ones, we continue to be allies.” He then went on to introduce the next song in his lineup, “As I Am,” explaining how it’s about “taking each other as we are.” Justin captioned the post, “RACISM WILL NOT PREVAIL GOD DOES. WE STAND WITH YOU BUFFALO AND STAND AGAINST THIS RACIST ACT OF TERROR.”
In yet another Instagram post, Justin shared a clip of him holding a prayer circle with his production team right before he took the stage. “You guys probably heard what happened, pretty horrible stuff,” the pop star said with his arms around his associates. “But I’m looking forward to tonight, doing what we do best and having a good time and bringing joy to the city. It’s much needed.”
Thirteen people were shot at the Tops Friendly Market when the suspect, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, reportedly open fired around 2pm. Eleven of the victims were Black and two were White, according to Buffalo Police. Two people remain hospitalized, while one wounded victim was discharged from a local hospital. Gendron was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge on Saturday evening.
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday. “This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind.”