CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ― Justin Timberlake took the stage at A Concert for Charlottesville Sunday night, a free show held in response to the white supremacist rally that occurred in the Virginia city on Aug. 12.
Timberlake kicked off his performance with a powerful cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” then launched into a library of hits from his career, including “Drink You Away, “Suit & Tie,” “My Love,” “Holy Grail,” “Rock Your Body,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and “Mirrors.” The crowd roared with applause when he brought back old favorites like “Cry Me A River” and “Sexy Back.”
Between songs, the pop icon took a moment to address the momentous significance of the evening’s activities.
“As you may or may not know I’m a new dad,” Timberlake said. “I just got on a plane from Nashville and kissed my son goodbye. I know that 15, 20, 30 years from now he’s going to see this somewhere, and he’s going to remember and you’re going to remember. So give yourselves a round of applause for making history. This is what unity does.”
Later he added: “Love trumps hate.”
Timberlake was one of a long list of artists to perform at Scott Stadium to honor the spirit of Charlottesville. Dave Matthews, Pharrell, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Brittany Howard and Cage the Elephant were also on the bill, along with surprise guests Stevie Wonder and Chris Martin. Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, the activist who was killed while protesting the rally in August, helped welcome the tens of thousands of audience members.
“Sing your hearts out,” Bro said. “Feel the music and fill the void left by those we have lost. I will be right here with Heather singing.”