Posted by: tdennis2011 | June 16, 2016

In Memory of Christina Grimmie, 1994-2016

It took me a week to figure out what to say about this. By now you all know that Christina Grimmie was murdered after a concert in Orlando this past weekend. In a year full of bad news for music lovers, this is the most gut wrenching story by far. Every aspect is shocking from the crime itself to the way it has been covered. I don’t normally let my emotions fly on this blog, but I’m making an exception this time.

I should start off by admitting that I am not a regular viewer of The Voice. I only see it every so often and it never left that much of a lasting impression on me. Therefore I did not know who Grimmie was or any other competitor for that matter. It was only after pouring over all the articles and watching the news that I realized just how popular this young woman was. She was a viral sensation before she even auditioned and many feel that she should have won that season’s competition. She clearly influenced a lot of people. Apparently she was also good enough to acquire some high-profile friendships. Yet even after all that, she was never a household name. To me that wasn’t surprising because The Voice is not necessarily known for its ability to make major stars, but that’s not important. What is important is how people kept Christina Grimmie’s name in the back of their heads. She may not have totally broken through, but she did gain loyal supporters.

This is why I was so surprised to hear she had been shot. Even though she had talent and an unblemished reputation, she was not a major star. Typically these types of things only happen to people with obvious fame. I am not saying this to make it sound like she was unworthy of her fame or unimportant. I’m just trying to explain to you just how horrible and tragic this is. This woman’s life was just beginning and now she will never get to experience the thrill and excitement of being a beloved musician. That is why I was so heartbroken to hear this had happened even though I didn’t know who she was.

With that said, I will now turn my attention to the coverage this case has gotten. This is where I will shift my emotions from sadness to anger. First, I am stunned by how little detail there is. Granted the murder is only a few days old, but almost nothing about the shooter has come to light. By now we should have known what his online activity was and heard interviews with family members, but nobody even knows why he wanted Christina dead in the first place. Unfortunately the stupid fool decided to kill himself, so it will take even more time to understand his motive. Further complicating the investigation was the terrorist shooting spree at the Pulse nightclub just two night later in the same city (another despicable act). Since then the worst shooting in American history has shut off most of the coverage about this case. It is, after all, far more historic and consequential, so it would naturally get the lion’s share of the press’ time. I am not bothered by this at all and I am glad that the Pulse shooting is getting all the coverage. I just hope that Orlando can turn its attention back to the Grimmie murder soon and do a thorough investigation. It’s the only way to give closure to her fans, friends, and family.

Second, the reactions of some of the biggest names connected to Christina have been astonishingly blasé. The first Twitter reaction I saw was from The Voice’s official account. There were two tweets, one reacting to Christina being shot and another reacting to her death. The first tweet was very nice. It read:

We are heartbroken. @TheRealGrimmie is a loved member of our family.  Our thoughts are with her and her family.  #PrayForChristina

The second tweet infuriated me. Mind you, this is an official reaction to Christina’s death from the program that made her famous.

There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie.

Is it just me, or did they make her murder seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal? This is more like a memorial tweet for an old music legend like David Bowie, not a heartfelt condolence about one of your alumni. What gets me the most is the inclusion of the phrase “there are no words”. HOW LIGHTHEARTED AND TRENDY COULD YOU POSSIBLY GET? What a typical corporate millennial response! I’m surprised they didn’t throw in a YOLO hashtag while they were at it. There is almost no emotion expressed here and the fact that this is their official response is sickening. Sadly, Christina Aguilera, a judge on The Voice made a similar mistake. Here’s her tweet:

So sad passing of @TheRealGrimmie. Beautiful member of #TheVoice family & true #Fighter. My heart goes out to her family, friends & fans. xo

Same cliches, same empty emotion, and she actually did use a hashtag. But the biggest surprise came from another judge, Pharrell Williams, who I expected so much better from. His tweet looked like this:

This is a tragic loss. My heart goes out to @therealgrimmie’s family, friends and all the people that she touched.

Imagine for a moment that you knew nothing about the murder and that you read one of those tweets. Would you have known that Christina Grimmie was murdered in cold blood in front of her fans and brother? Probably not.

Underwhelming tweets are one thing, but wait until you hear this. On Saturday morning, just hours after providing updates on what had happened, USA Today published a list entitled “9 Celebrities Who Were Murdered”. That was not the time to slap together a pop culture list like that and link it to the murder coverage. It is true that the murder was similar to those of John Lennon and “Dimebag” Darrell and I remember thinking of them that day, too. However, I consider it poor taste to publish a list like that and tie it to this crime like it was some sort of trivial event.

I’m sure these people didn’t mean any harm and didn’t intend to sound aloof, but that’s how they came across; at least to me. Fortunately other celebrities made up for all the lousy tributes and half-hearted tweets. People like Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony, Charlie Puth, Rachel Platten, and Selena Gomez (a good friend of Grimmie) all paid tribute to Christina during their concerts and actually sounded sincere about it. In fact, Selena Gomez’s stepfather was Christina’s manager and set up a GoFundMe page in her honor. So far it has raised $160,000. On top of that, Adam Levine, Christina’s coach on The Voice has offered to pay for her funeral. That is amazing. Adam Levine, one of the most famous musicians in the world today, wants to honor his protege by offering to pay for funeral expenses out of his own pocket. If that doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will. And, thankfully, The Voice’s twitter page made up for its pathetic response and blacked out its thumbnail and banner in memory of Christina.

I think Blake Shelton gave the best tribute tweet of all. If you read through the 3 tweets beforehand he was actually anxious to stay on top of the news of Christina’s condition. Once he learned she had died he said this:

I’m stunned and disgusted and heartbroken that we lost that sweet little girl… Keeping @TheRealGrimmie family in my heart and mind.

I have a feeling we will look back on this senseless act as a major marker in music history. There is no excuse for it. Plain and simple, this should never have happened.

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