Ariana Grande has reflected on one of the defining, life-changing moments of the singer’s career, the suicide bombing at her Manchester, England, concert.
In the fourth episode of her new YouTube documentary series, “Dangerous Woman Diaries,” Grande reveals the letter she sent to fans who attended and survived the May 2017 terrorist attack that killed 23 people, including the bomber, and injured more than 800 people.
“The people of Manchester were able to change an event that portrayed the worst of humanity into one that portrayed the most beautiful of humanity,” Grande’s letter as captioned in the video reads. “‘Like a handprint on my heart’… I think of Manchester constantly and will carry this with me every day for the rest of my life.”
Grande sent the letter on Feb. 22, 2018, eight months after the attack. In it, she said that she and her band and crew learned to never allow hate to win and to persevere “during the scariest and saddest of times.”
“Music is an escape. Music is the safest thing I’ve ever known,” Grande’s letter continued. “Music, pop music, stan culture, is something that brings people together, introduces them to some of their best friends, and makes them feel like they can be themselves. It is comfort. It is fun. It is expression. It is happiness. It is the last thing that would ever harm someone. It is safe.”
“When something so opposite and so poisonous takes place in your world that is supposed to be everything but that…it is shocking and heartbreaking in a way that seems impossible to fully recover from,” she writes.
Several weeks after the attack, Grande returned to Manchester for the “One Love Manchester” benefit concert, performing Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” with Miley Cyrus and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” with Coldplay. Oasis’s song became a viral anthem of sorts following the attack when a crowd sang the tune following an emotional moment of silence at a vigil. And Grande closed out the performance with her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which you can see in the documentary episode following the letter.
Grande will release the music video for her new song “thank u, next” later on Friday. Watch a preview of her documentary series above.