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Celebrating the Tonys in the wake of Orlando isn’t shallow, it’s a victory

When something tragic happens, it’s hard to know the appropriate time to start thinking about anything else. Everyone wants to balance respect for those who lost their lives with not letting fear or hate — specifically, in today’s case, homophobia — win. Just last night, 50 people were killed and 53 more were injured at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, so is tonight too soon to enjoy watching the Tony Awards?

Absolutely not. The Tony Awards aren’t trying to make you forget. The performers, honorees and presenters want to show you the joy that exists, too.

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When senseless acts of violence and terror happen, there is a small group of extremists trying to take power over the many. They try to trick us all into thinking that we’re unsafe and that we need to stay quiet in order to protect our lives. But that’s not the answer.

We need the Tonys tonight. It’s almost poetic that all of these diverse, proudly different, talented people are getting in a room to celebrate each other. Whether they know it or not, everyone in the room tonight is sending the message that no one should be scared to be who they are.

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Tragedies like these are real, and they hurt, but they aren’t a reason to change who you are or to shy away from things that bring joy into your life. The actors, producers, writers, directors and fans of Broadway who are participating in tonight’s award show are letting everyone know that being hurt or sad is OK, but letting fear stop you from being proud of yourself isn’t.

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So, no, watching the Tony Awards tonight instead of the nightly news isn’t shallow. It’s OK to turn off the bad news and watch a show that celebrates the good in humanity, that reminds us all that most people want to champion each other and to create magic that makes others happy. You don’t have to feel guilty for wanting to celebrate the joy instead of reliving the fear.

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