Leslie Odom Jr. Tributes LGBTQ+ Lives Lost In 'Without You' Performance

By Taylor Fields

June 5, 2021

This year marks five years since the horrific mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 dead and 53 more wounded. And throughout history, this is just one instance of violence to the LGBTQ+ community. During this year's "Can't Cancel Pride," Leslie Odom Jr. gave a touching performance to remember all of the lives that have been lost.

Backed by a section of strings and an acoustic guitar, Odom performed "Without You" from the musical and movie versions of RENT.

But, before Odom took the stage, Ricky Martin made an appearance to say a few words and introduce the actor/singer. Martin spoke about the Pulse nightclub shooting as well as the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 and more. He said:

"So many lives lost to COVID and to violence that takes many forms. At least 17 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year. Most of the them Black and Latin trans women. As we grieve over the mass shootings that seem to happen every day, we recognize that 2021 marks five years since the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Forty-nine souls gone in moments, many lives changed forever. Not all forty-nine were members of the LGBTQ community, there were friends, lovers, families all out celebrating their Pride."

Ricky added, "With all of the progress we've made since the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, we cannot ignore that too many hearts remain full of hate. Just last month in Puerto Rico, the Senate committee voted down a Bill would have banned so-called conversion therapies on the island."

Finally, Martin said as he concluded, "But tonight, we're here to out love hate. We stand strong, and together, we call on the power of music to heal, and give us hope. So with strength, conviction and love in our hearts, here's our tribute to those we've lost, and the commitment we make towards a better tomorrow."

The "Can't Cancel Pride" virtual relief benefit for the LGBTQ+ community helps to raise funds, partnering with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to administer and distribute financial support raised by the event to LGBTQ+ organizations with a track record of positive impact and support of the LGBTQ+ community including GLAAD, SAGE, The Trevor Project, the National Black Justice Coalition, CenterLink, and OutRight Action International.

This year's "Can't Cancel Pride" will also be available on demand via iHeartRadio's TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram TV pages, iHeartRadio's Pride Radio and Revry throughout Pride Month until Thursday, June 30.

Photos: iHeartRadio

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