Paul McCartney and Run the Jewels were among the artists to pay tribute to the victims of the Charleston shooting during their performances at Delaware’s Firefly Festival Friday night. During McCartney’s headlining set, the rocker paused before “The Long and Winding Road” to remember the nine people killed during bible study at Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “Let’s take a moment to pray for peace and harmony amongst people of different colors in the world,” McCartney told the crowd (via Billboard).
Run the Jewels also acknowledged those killed in the tragedy during their Firefly set, dedicating the track “A Christmas Fucking Miracle” to the victims, Philly.com reports. “We’re going to Europe on tour shortly,” said El-P told the crowd. “We’ll always bring with us the ridiculous tragic arrogance that America has provided us, everywhere we go,” which prompted sarcastic chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” from the audience.
Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike expanded on his thoughts regarding the Charleston shooting on Twitter Thursday. “What happened in Charleston is an act of terror committed by a terrorist. Simple & plain. I wish those folks in that church had been armed,” the rapper tweeted. “The most sickening part is 9 times outta 10 this terrorist prolly at some point has identified as Christian. Smh.”
Killer Mike continued Saturday morning with another series of incisive tweets. “Black People turn your TVs off and go sport shooting today. At the range, out side anywhere but learn to use a Gun. Stop being afraid. While you are outside fish, hunt, & camp too,” the rapper tweeted. “I would like to ask any group of currently killed and oppressed people across the globe if they would like the right to take up arms?”
McCartney, a longtime social activist, has also expressed a deeper connection to incidents shaking the U.S. in recent months. Last December, the rocker revealed he was considering writing a song inspired by Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in Staten Island who died while being apprehended by a police officer, and the subsequent protests that followed both that incident and the Michael Brown shooting.
“I was thinking recently about all these protests in New York and around the country,” McCartney said. “I thought it would be great to put something down about that, just to add my voice to the thousands of people walking in the streets. I thought it through, and it just didn’t come easily. I’m not giving up on it, but it didn’t come easily, whereas some other emotions might come easily to me.”