Katy Perry’s 2010 song “Teenage Dream” typically conjures up rosy images of a love that makes you feel young again.
But a PSA video released by Sandy Hook Promise is using the song in a new way: to shed light on the horrors of school gun violence and how it has affected teenagers across America. In the video, real survivors of school shootings sing a slow version of the song, accompanied by only a piano.
“The teenage dream is not what it used to be,” the video states. Certain lyrics from “Teenage Dream”, sweetly innocuous when about a romantic partner, become hauntingly poignant when applied to teenage victims of gun violence. “You and I will be young forever” and “let’s run away and don’t ever look back” are particularly effective.
Among the survivors in the PSA video are Aalayah Eastmond who hid under her dead friend’s body in the Parkland, Florida shooting and Nick Walczak who is paralyzed after a bullet struck his spine in the 2012 Chardon, Ohio shooting.
Perry Shared the Video on Instagram
Perry took to Instagram to share the video as well as some words on the topic of school shootings.
“For too many kids, The Teenage Dream is shattered by school shootings. Gun violence shouldn’t be part of growing up. Please share this important PSA from @sandyhookpromise #TheTeenageDream 💔,” Perry wrote in the caption.
According to Statista, 2019 had the most school shootings in the United States since 1970, a total of 118. As of June, there were 79 school shootings in 2021.
‘Teenage Dream’ Writer Reveals Perry Inspired a Britney Spears Song
McKee was working on “Teenage Dream” and Spears’ album “Femme Fatale” at the same time. In the TikTok, the songwriter explains how she had the melody for “Hold It Against Me” locked in, but couldn’t find a lyrical concept she liked. She kept going over cliche pickup lines, but nothing seemed right.
Then Perry walked into the studio one day and, according to McKee, she looked “bomb as f***.” McKee then said, “Damn, Katie. If I said you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?” At that moment, McKee knew she’d found the perfect hook for the Spears song.
Perry Has Spoken Up About #FreeBritney
Like many other celebrities, Perry has publicly voiced her support of Britney Spears’ petition to end her controversial conservatorship.
“We stand with Britney. Every woman has the right to not to be controlled, to do what she wants with her body and to be free and feel herself. We are committed to Britney and with everybody who have ever felt manipulated by anyone in their life. #FREEBRITNEY #FreeBritneyNOW,” Perry tweeted in June.
The “I Kissed a Girl” singer included two old photos of her and Spears at a movie premiere.