Charleston, SC native Darius Rucker dedicated an acapella version of “Amazing Grace” Wednesday night to the victims of his hometown’s June church shooting massacre during a taping of CMT’s “Instant Jam.”
“We went through a lot crap recently. The tragedy broke my heart,” the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman started. “The greatest feeling I’ve had in a long time is when that played out and our city didn’t divide. We said, ‘This is us.’ We said to that guy that lives in a time that doesn’t exist anymore, ‘You wanted to mess with our city and instead you brought us together.'”
“We realized how much we love each other that someone who is not like me is there and we still love them,” he continued. “This song goes out to our city.”
The dedication came about half-a-day after Vester Lee Flanagan shot and killed two reporters during a live broadcast in Roanoke, Va., before turning the gun on himself. Before the attack, Flanagan shared a 23-page manifesto, in which he said the June 17 church shooting in Charleston drove him “over the top.”
Three months ago, white supremacist Dylan Roof shot and killed nine black members of a bible study group in a Charleston church. Flanagan was African-American, his victims were white.
In addition to Rucker’s dedication, he performed a surprise cover of the Blackstreet ’90s song “No Diggity,” ’80s John Mellencamp anthem “Pink Houses,” as well as Hootie hits “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”
The taping took place on the beach just outside of Charleston and will air on CMT Sep. 5 at 10 p.m.