On Thursday, (May 17) prominent artist manager and philanthropist Scooter Braun urged Nashville's music industry to enter into the gun control debate. Braun was in Nashville accepting the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award, which the Music Business Association awarded him.
Braun manages pop superstars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among others. He also owns two record labels. Braun received the humanitarian award for his charitable giving and work. That includes staging the One Love Manchester benefit concert after a suicide bomber killed 22 at an Ariana Grande concert.
During his acceptance, Braun spoke with political commentator Hilary Rosen, who brought up the issue. "I am not afraid to have this conversation and I like it happening here in Nashville," Braun said, according to Billboard. "This town can make a difference."
Look To The Kids
The upcoming generation of voters were central to Braun's case. He referenced the city's universities, noting that talking to those kids shows a changing opinion on gun culture in the country. "If you go down and ask the kids at the university what are they going to do, you would know that this is your chance to be on the right side of history," Braun said.
He also noted that he is a gun owner. "I haven't met one artist or friend who owns guns who doesn't agree with me," Braun says. "This issue is not about taking away guns. Its about making sure that those who have guns are qualified."
At one point, Braun asked anybody in the audience who agreed with him to stand up. Practically the entire audience stood. "We need to have a dialogue, and have it with respect," Braun said. "Even with people you may think are irrational."
A Silent Movement
Nashville's community is central to the gun control debate, but many artists and industry executives seem hesitant to publicly bring the issue to the forefront. At one point, the Country Music Association even temporarily barred journalists from asking questions about guns following the Las Vegas massacre.
But many prominent country artists quietly disassociated themselves from the National Rifle Association following the shooting. Several more chose to speak out publicly. Most recently Jason Aldean spoke about how easy it is to obtain firearms.