Kelsea Ballerini Honors Nashville Shooting Victims at CMT Awards
Kelsea Ballerini honored the Nashville shooting victims on Sunday at the 2023 CMT Music Awards. The artist opened the ceremony by sharing their names during the broadcast, paying tribute to students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, and staff members Cynthia Peak, Katherine Koonce, and Mike Hill.
“I pray — deeply — that closeness and community we feel for the next few hours of music can soon turn into action, like real action, that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones,” said Ballerini.
The singer-songwriter also shared how she witnessed a classmate die in a school shooting when she was younger. “I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central High School lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria,” said the artist. “Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses, and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence.”
Ballerini, who performed her hosting duties from home in 2022 after testing positive for Covid, rejoined Kane Brown as the show’s co-host. The night saw Hardy’s “Wait in the Truck” featuring Lainey Wilson take home Collaborative Video of the Year, and Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown’s duet “Thank God” won the Video of the Year prize.
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