The Orlando Pulse Club shooting, which left 53 wounded and 49 dead, has many reeling with shock as they come to terms with the tragedy. Celebrities, along with ordinary people, are finding ways to cope, and some of those ways create beautiful gifts to give the rest of the grieving world. New York Daily News reports that many stars have shared their thoughts and support for the Orlando victims on social media. Recently, one well-known singer and LGBT advocate has made her own offering to help heal the wounds.
Melissa Etheridge is a well-known voice supporting LGBT rights, and the singer decided to use that voice to help the queer community through this terrible time. Etheridge has released a song “dedicated to the victims of the massacre.” Jezebel magazine reports that Melissa wrote the song immediately after hearing about the attack on Sunday, while on a New York City stop during her tour.
Etheridge, age 55, told the Advocate that she called the song “Pulse” after the club where the “biggest mass shooting in American history” took place early on the morning of Sunday, June 12. Melissa described some of the feelings she experienced that inspired her to write “Pulse.” She was staying at a hotel with a view of Freedom Tower, thinking about the news of the Pulse shootings, and how the attack was “specifically” directed at the Latino and LGBT communities when the idea came to her.
“I found myself roaming around my apartment. I knew that would make me feel better, and I just started writing.”
Originally, Etheridge’s “Pulse” was intended to address other mass shootings as well, in a song that would deal with how she finds herself “moved by so many things,” and to “how we react” when confronted with tragedies like the Pulse club shootings. Melissa wanted to contribute to listeners’ change of heart about “that gay thing,” through recognition that it “unfortunately takes a hideous event like this” to open hearts to change.
“It sometimes brings people together and moves others who might have been like, ‘That gay thing is not anything I’m concerned about.'”
Melissa added that a mass tragedy that has an impact on a large number of people can sometimes be the catalyst that “moves them” so that they come to a decision that they “have to stand on the side of love and peace.”
“Pulse” opens with words that clearly indicate Etheridge’s intentions with the song, using the word “pulse” to talk about “the human condition” as well as reference the club where the shootings took place.
“Everybody’s got a pain inside/ Imaginary wounds they fight to hide/ How can I hate them, when everybody’s got a pulse?”
Melissa explained to Rolling Stone that she found the name “very poetic and very meaningful,” because it leads the listener to think about their own pulse, and how they are connected to others. For Etheridge, it was very important to emphasize the loving nature of the gay community.
“Here we are–people who are loving; we are fighting for who we want to love.”
Melissa chose to premier the song in Torrington, Conn., the home town of Pulse victim Kimberly “KJ” Morris. Morris was a bouncer at the night club, and was one of the first victims of the shooter, as well as one of the first to be buried. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Morris had only just started working at Pulse, and had moved from Hawaii to take the job. She was “very excited” about the move and “looking forward” to becoming involved in the Orlando LGBT community.
When Etheridge’s “Pulse” becomes available for purchase, the song will raise much needed funds for an LGBT non-profit group.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS]