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Usher explains why he missed Manchester concert

Singer says he skipped benefit for son’s first day at camp British Red Cross raised more than $3M with concert

Usher performs in New Orleans on April 29,

Usher performs in New Orleans on April 29, 2017. The singer explained on social media Monday, June 5, 2017, why he missed a benefit concert for Manchester bombing victims the day before. Credit: AP, Invision / Amy Harris

Singer Usher took to social media Monday to explain why he did not appear as scheduled at Ariana Grande’s benefit concert Sunday for victims of the Manchester bombing.

“So happy to see that last night’s concert in Manchester proved that love always prevails,” Usher, 38, posted on Instagram with a photo taken from the audience of the show, which the British Red Cross said raised more than $3 million. Earlier on Sunday, the organization said that its Manchester Emergency Fund had already reached $9 million, bringing the total raised by the concert’s end to more than $12 million.

“I would have loved to be there but it was my son’s first day at Camp Kudzu, one of the few summer camps for kids living with diabetes. This was an important day for him and for myself as a proud father. Stay strong UK.”

Usher, whose 9-year-old son Usher Raymond V, nicknamed Cinco, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 5, has been active in fundraising to fight the disease. In April, he and other stars attended the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund’s Imagine Gala, which raised over $1 million. In 2013, that same son had nearly drowned in the pool of the singer’s home in Atlanta.

Usher had been among the lineup announced last week, which also included Grande, Justin Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Niall Horan, Katy Perry, Pharrell and Take That. The night of the show, he had posted an Instagram video, saying in part, “My heart is with you, Manchester. I’m so sorry for all of your loss and all the pain that you’ve gone through. My family and I send our heartfelt condolences to each and every one of you in this difficult time.”

Additionally Monday, British talk-show host Piers Morgan, 52, apologized for harsh comments he had made toward Grande after she cut short her tour and returned home to Florida after the terrorist attack at her May 22 Manchester Arena show.

After first tweeting Sunday that, “I misjudged you, @ArianaGrande & I apologise. You’re an admirable young woman & this is a magnificent night,” the outspoken Morgan on Monday added, “I’m sorry for doubting you, @ArianaGrande - you’re one helluva gutsy young lady . . . a brave young lady who stuck it to ISIS & made me eat my cynical words.”

He linked to a long open letter he had penned for Mail Online, a website affiliated with the British newspaper the Daily Mail, saying she would have been “perfectly entitled” to slap him in the face “after my scathing remarks about you two weeks ago, when you flew straight home to Florida within hours of the bombing. . . . The truth is that you have made me eat my cynical words in quite spectacular fashion. You flew back to Manchester within two weeks of what must have been the worst day of your life. You went to the hospitals and sat with your wounded fans . . . did endless selfies, sang a few songs and brought huge joy to so many shattered lives.”

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Morgan also applauded that the 23-year-old “also spent the past week planning a huge fundraising concert, persuading many of your pop superstar friends.” He added that “by coming back to Manchester so soon, shrugging off the latest attack in London, standing on that stage and performing with such raw emotion and power, you showed more guts, resilience, strength of character and ‘Blitz spirit’ than every sniveling, pathetic ISIS coward put together. And you certainly showed a damn sight more compassion than I ever showed you.”

Grande had not responded on social media as of early Monday afternoon.


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