Shawn Mendes & Khalid Perform with Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student Choir at Billboard Music Awards
Shawn Mendes wrote his song "Youth" after the terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s May 2017 concert in Manchester
Shawn Mendes made an emotional tribute to those affected or have lost loved ones to gun violence.
On Sunday, the singer, 19, performed his song “Youth” with Khalid at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas where 12 members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student choir joined them in honoring the 10 victims of Friday’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
“Pain but I won’t let it turn into hate/ I won’t let it change me/ You can’t take my youth away,” Mendes belted out.
While Mendes played guitar and Khalid wearing a “Protect our children” shirt, 12 members of the show choir, wearing “Youth” sweaters walked on stage to sing the chorus.
The group shared a warm embrace as the audience gave a rousing standing ovation.
“It’s a really special performance,” Mendes said on the red carpet, hours before taking the stage.
On Friday, a gunman killed 10 people, mostly students, in a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School. Among those killed were an exchange student from Pakistan and a substitute teacher.
Weeks after the Vegas massacre, a gunman fatally shot 25 people, including a pregnant woman, at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Check out PEOPLE’s full Billboard Music Awards coverage to get the latest news on music’s big night.
“I was touring around Europe when the events of Manchester and London happened, it was very overwhelming,” he told U.K. newspaper Daily Star in April.
“I wanted to write something about it but it had to be about the feeling for us as a generation when one of these things happens. So I wrote a song about our youth, a feeling that can’t be taken away from us,” he said, adding, “It’s the most important song on the album.”
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The 2018 Billboard Music Awards are broadcast live on NBC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.