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The Power of Pop

When I was 16 years old I saw Christina Aguilera in Dublin. It was my first ever concert and I was surrounded mostly by young women who loved her the way I did, who whooped and cheered as her male dancer performed an elaborate striptease mid-show. It was the first time I ever let myself admire a man publicly. For this gay teenager, it was a heady experience and one of the countless times I used the pop stars I loved, both as an escape and a way to imagine something different for myself when I was older.

In an age of unlimited entertainment options there’s something that remains potent about the power of a pop concert, something that still carries a certain kind of magic, especially for many young first-time gig goers. Sadly, senseless acts of violence can happen in any crowded space, but the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, where young pop fans (some of whom were only eight years old) were injured or killed was a stark reminder of the kind of joy that’s part of the DNA of the concert space, and how cruel it is to have that ruined by a heinous act.

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