Following this past weekend’s mass shootings in both El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, Kacey Musgraves took the stage at the music festival Lollapalooza, a rallying cry in tow. “I don’t know what the answer is, but obviously something has to be fucking done,” Musgraves said to the crowd on Sunday. “Maybe somebody will hear us if we all yell together and say, ‘Somebody fucking do something.’”
A chorus of fans joined Musgraves in chanting before she went on to sing the somber ballad “Rainbow,” as well as other songs from her album Golden Hour, and a heartfelt cover of “I Will Survive.” A video documenting Musgraves’s set quickly went viral on Monday, with Musgraves thanking people for having the “bravery to show up and come to a large music festival,”— likely a reference to the 2017 shooting at Las Vegas’s Route 91 Harvest music festival, which left at least 58 people dead.
Later, Musgraves followed up by tweeting at President Donald Trump: “Don’t you hear us, @realDonaldTrump? Don’t you hear our pain? You have the power to become a hero. Why don’t you take it?” In a subsequent tweet, she added: “For a man who clearly loves being well-liked, it’s indescribably mind-numbing to see him blatantly and murderously ignore doing ONE THING that would not only make people happy but would SAVE PEOPLE’S LIVES. True leaders don’t stand back and watch the world burn. @realDonaldTrump.”
Unlike many musicians who remain quiet during discussions that can quickly turn political (such as gun reform), the pop-country singer has made her frustration clear. After receiving criticism on Twitter—with some tweeting for her to “stick to singing”—Musgraves swiftly replied that she is a Texan familiar with the state’s hunting and gun culture, and that “the system is majorly flawed.” Furthermore, she said, “NOBODY NEEDS ANYTHING REMOTELY AUTOMATIC. PERIOD. They’re mass killing machines.”
Testing the boundaries of country music’s conventions is nothing new for Musgraves, who has made her career on genre-bending, psychedelic-infused country hits. Musgraves taking a stance favoring gun reform is just another way the young artist is forging a way for the next generation of Texans.
She also wasn’t the only Texan speaking out in hopes of enacting change. Later, El Pasoan and Grammy-nominated singer Khalid responded to what has happened in his hometown. “Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking of ways to help out and support the city,” he tweeted.” I’m planning for a benefit concert later this month, all of the proceeds will go to the families affected by the shooting. Sending everyone my love and will keep you guys updated.”