Rising star Christina Grimmie made a name for herself after her run on NBC’s The Voice back in 2014, though she was not a new performer at that time by any means. Her murder at The Plaza Live was shocking and although she was not an artist that I follow, it was chilling to read the news the next morning, as I have been in that Orlando landmark many times; it was one of the venues where many of us in the blues community have played or shown up to support one another or have gone to see nationally-known acts. It was inconceivable that an artist would be shot dead there by an obsessed fan, but that’s exactly what happened.
Because there are thousands upon thousands of places on the net that tell every detail of that sad story, I’ll not rehash the killing. But this piece in Rolling Stone treats the story with a wide-angle lens, talking about that zone where social media, super-stardom, and obsession meet and what that means for artists and fans.
This is not to down-play in any way the shock and mind-numbing grief that must have ripped through the hearts of her family, friends and fans. But an even crazier and more shocking event was about to play out in Orlando. Our community, the Nation and even the world have been fixated on the this bizarre and heart-breaking story: the massacre of 49 people at Pulse, a nightclub on Orlando’s south side.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the incredibly tragic events here in Orlando over the last week. There’s been non-stop coverage of all three events, not by local media only, but the big boys have been all over it too. CNN and the New York Times, among many others. And when you think back over the week’s events, it’s not hard to see why.
First, singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead in an autograph session at the Plaza Theater on Friday, June 10th. Then, barely 24 hours later home-grown terrorist and homophobe Omar Mateen cut loose with a torrent of death that claimed 49 innocent lives and injured 53 others. And then on Tuesday night, Lane Graves, a two year old boy visiting from Nebraska, was dragged under and drowned by an alligator at Disney’s flagship resort. An incredible week, to say the least, and one we who call Orlando home will never forget.
In the next three posts, I’m going to have more to say about these three truly tragic events. At this moment, I just want to point out-though it’s been done countless times in the last ten days-that this is probably more cruelty, shock, sadness and sorrow than has been visited on any single American city in such a short span of time in our century. If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. What a week it’s been! I hope no community here in the U.S. or anywhere else on the planet, ever has to deal with this improbable mix of insanity, hatred and ill fortune in a six day span. Heaven help us.