Katy Perry’s 2010 song “Teenage Dream” typically conjures up rosy images of a love that makes you feel young again.
But a new 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 young people who have been affected by school gun violence 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 in the middle. Certain lyrics from the song, 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 2021 Chardon, Ohio shooting.
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